Crimes of Former Junta Not Off Limits, Says Govt Committee

Under the 2008 Constitution, former Burmese junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe is immune from prosecution for crimes committed while he was in power. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Complaints about illegal acts, including human rights violations, by Burma’s former military junta can still be submitted to the government, according to the chairman of a government committee that handles public complaints.

At a press conference held at the office of the Upper House’s Public Complaints and Petitions Committee (PCPC), Chairman Aung Nyein told reporters that his committee does not separate cases based on whether they took place under the current administration or the previous regime.

“We have received complaints about cases under the previous government and forwarded them to the current administration to take further action in accordance with the law,” he said.

He said that even though the 2008 Constitution includes an article that prevents anyone from filing lawsuits or taking other measures in response to any act committed by the former regime, this should not apply to complaints filed by the public.

“We are now receiving individual complaints, so I don’t think it is related to that article,” said Aung Nyein. “That’s why we are forwarding complaints about cases under the previous government to the current administration for further action. I don’t think that article and the complaints we are handling are interrelated.”

He added that most of the complaints the PCPC receives with regard to the military regime are land confiscation cases.

Chapter 14, Article 445 of Burma’s 2008 Constitution states that “No proceeding shall be instituted against the [former ruling military councils] or any member thereof or any member of the Government, in respect of any act done in the execution of their respective duties.”

Thein Nyint, a Lower House MP from Rangoon’s Thingangyun Township and a lawyer, told The Irrawaddy that it is unlikely the government will take any action in cases involving the previous regime because the 2008 Constitution grants the former ruling generals and officials serving under them complete immunity from prosecution.

“Because of Article 445, what the PCPC Chairman said was just words, and won’t have any actual impact in practice,” said Thein Nyunt.

Dr Saw Naing, an executive of the opposition National League from Democracy from Rangoon’s South Okkalapa Township, said that the government should say if it intends to take action in cases where it accepts complaints from the public.

“The PCPC chairman said people can lodge complaints but he didn’t say anything about taking action, so I don’t think his statement really means anything,” said Dr Saw Naing.

At the Union Day dinner on Feb. 12, Vice Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces, reportedly admitted that the army committed land confiscations under the former junta. He said that seized land not currently being used will be returned to farmers.

President’s Office spokesperson Ye Htut said, however, that he still cannot predict when exactly those lands will be returned.


15 Responses to Crimes of Former Junta Not Off Limits, Says Govt Committee

  1. Land confiscation is just economical crime that former regime had committed. How about 2008 cyclone Nargis and the government block the international aid for the people who were suffering at that time. It is crime against humanity. If victims of cyclone Nagis complain the government, will someone pay for their crime? Justice and law should not be just talking, it should be in reality. How about Military countless crimes committed in Ethnic lands since worthless Ne Win, Sein Lwin, Maung Maung, Saw Maung and ofcourse ruthless barbaric Than Shwe and Khin Nyut? Will they be prosecuted for their crime? I doubt!!!!!! Thein Sein government is just talking. It is mearly meaningless voices, nothing more. SHAME!!!!!!

  2. 2008 Nargis constitution chapter 14, article 445 is designed to protect criminals who killed monks, students and innocent people. Than Shwe knew best his crimes. Therefore, he asked Thein Sein to draft like this. This constitution must be thrown away or burn it. The constitution must be for justice but the 2008 Nargis constitution is to protect criminals and injustice. Thein Sein must be ashamed of drafting this Nargis constitution knowingly drafted just to protect Than Shwe and all his crime partners from prosecution.

  3. No one is above the law and no one is below the law, bring the wily Wild Boar to justice.

  4. Good on the committee for acting as a mail box, and not refusing to receive the submissions outright whatever happens next. Article 445 for them and Article 505 for the rest of us. That’s what they call discipline flourishing democracy.We get disciplined, they don’t.

  5. U Than Shwe,

    I am so sorry that you are not dead yet! Unfortunately, you are still alive. I cannot be pleased more if and when you are dead.

  6. Can anyone commit crimes like Depayin massacre, Christie Island massacre and get away with it;
    and yet filthy rich through public office and get away with the loot, Hm !

  7. Law is for every one either king or slave. No one can escape unless is hidden or covered up . How ever god’s judgment no one can escape.

  8. Justice for crimes against humanity must have no limitations.

  9. These may seem drastic measures, but the situation is dire. The regime has destroyed twice as many ethnic villages as in Darfur, civilians are shot at point-blank range, and forced labour, torture and the use of human minesweepers is widespread. Burma has the highest number of forcibly conscripted child soldiers in the world.

  10. A revolutionary court would quickly deal with the crimes of the junta.

  11. President U Thein Sein Government should take action against ex dictator Than Shwe for crime against humanity, corruption and illegal wealth.

  12. Justice sometimes never comes, and sometimes it’s just on a very slow boat. But for these criminals… the Generals, the police, the government informers, the prison wardens and guards, I do hope we can get the new government elected and the old government arrested and on trial before they die.

  13. PCPC, chairman , aung nyein will announce very soon that there is no concrete evidence to persecute than shwe therefore , than shwe will be the candidate of USDP for next coming election to elect president of Burma , like Russian Putin. Then, than shwe will definitely win the next election because of his bamanization ( cleansing all ethnics as well as Rohingya) after naming him as a bama national hero. The photo of than shwe will replace that of General Aung san who initiated the rubbish Panglong agreement in the favor of all ethnics’ autonomy.

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