International Development Law Organization

Interview with Myanmar's Attorney General

1 Dec 2016

H.E. U Tun Tun Oo, is the Attorney General of Myanmar. In November 2016, he spoke to IDLO as a special guest at the Assembly of Parties.

As a young democracy, Myanmar is still in a democratic transition, and a series of reform processes, to include the political, economic and justice sectors, are ongoing. In the justice sector, judges, law officers and the police force are collaborating to improve both, individual and institutional roles towards realizing fair trials and combating corruption.

The Union Attorney General’s Office (UAGO) has participated actively in these reforms since we play a leading role for promoting rule of law and justice sector development in Myanmar, and also because we are mandated to provide legal advice to the government and all its ministries.

My office has developed a strategic plan for 2015 – 2019, with a view to safeguarding the principles of the rule of law in Myanmar, in accordance with international standards. With four goals and objectives, the Plan promises to be a positive force for change: to protect national interest and legal rights of individuals; strengthen the performance of the Office of the Attorney General; to inspire public interest and confidence in the justice system; and take an active role in justice sector reform.

Since Myanmar has embarked on an ambitious path towards democratic governance and peace, promoting the rule of law and access to justice play a crucial role.  Promoting justice sector development is very pivotal to a new democracy such as ours and goes hand in hand with the rule of law. Inarguably, the rule of law is a major element to meeting the aims of justice. Access to justice is fundamental to the rule of law; without which legal rights cannot be exercised and legal obligations enforced.  And, it is obvious that when rule of law prevails in a society, there is stability, prosperity, and democracy.

Awareness of the law by the people, including women and marginalized groups, is crucial for justice sector development and for promoting the rule of law. This is why we engage with the international community, including IDLO, to disseminate legal knowledge throughout the country. IDLO has provided capacity development to our office since 2013, through training of trainers, fair trial standards, and innovative justice. IDLO has conducted a series of workshops on the rule of law and undertaken training on fair trials in many regions of Myanmar. More recently, IDLO is supporting the UAGO in the implementation of our strategic plan.

As a result of this close collaboration, the UAGO and IDLO signed a memorandum of understanding for technical cooperation, in January of this year - 2016. For 2016, our joint cooperation has focused on modernizing of training programs and fair trial standards. IDLO will deliver more training throughout the year to strengthen knowledge and skills of the legal officials on international fair trial principles, such as equality and non-discrimination, due process, and prohibition against arbitrary detention and officer misconduct, among others.

Myanmar now has four Rule of Law Centres, established with the support of UNDP and IDLO. The Centres focus on strengthening knowledge, skills, and values of legal professionals and civil society, and promoting public legal awareness with the long-term goal of building greater trust in Myanmar’s justice system. Other activities include community forums on key local justice issues, offering unprecedented opportunities to bring together government with local communities to discuss and explore solutions to local justice issues, and mobile training initiatives on the laws.

All of IDLO’s stakeholders in Myanmar are very grateful to IDLO for its current support and hope for continued and greater support from IDLO for realizing fundamental changes needed in a young democratic country; justice sector development and establishment of the rule of law.

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