The Constitutional Tribunal strikes back (Myanmar/Burma)

Facing the threat of impeachment, Myanmar’s Constitutional Tribunal has criticized the Hluttaw for appointing 15 MPs, including Chairman Thein Swe, who signed the original petition for impeachment to the new Investigation Board. The tribunal members are of course relying upon the principle that a defendant’s accuser should not also serve as his judge. 
According to the 2008 Constitution, one chamber can initiate impeachment, while the other one conducts the proceedings. However, what happened in this case was that Pyithu Hluttaw MPs signed a petition before the Amyotha Hluttaw formally voted on impeachment. Thus, even though the Amyotha Hluttaw did hold its vote, the Pyithu Hluttaw MPs had already revealed their preferences before the proceedings even started.

Some analysts belief the Constitutional Tribunal is striking back in a deeper way. A former European diplomat quoted in The Financial Times noted that the tribunal’s ruling was “clearly designed to protect the executive against the emerging will of the people represented in parliament. . . What it really says is that ‘the old guard is trying to strike back’.” Unfortunately, the diplomat isn’t quite clear in why he came to this conclusion, but I suspect it’s because the tribunal’s “union-level organizations” decision would reduce the Hluttaw’s ability to subpoena ministries to testify before committee hearings..

Here is the Constitutional Tribunal’s announcement of its complaint against the Hluttaw from The New Light of Myanmar:

Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Constitutional Tribunal of the Union
Announcement No.2/2012
2nd Waning of Wagaung, 1374 ME
(3rd September, 2012)
Remonstration of Chairman of Investigation
Board U Thein Swe and members

1. It is reported that 301 Pyithu Hluttaw representatives at first have signed a proposal and sent it to the Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw to impeach Chairman of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union and members. Those representatives are adverse parties in this case.

2. They have no right to be as a chairman and members of the Investigation Board formed by Pyithu Hluttaw. This concept can be seen at Penal Code Section No.556 and paragraph 41 of Services Regulations Manual Book issued by the former State Council Office.

3. PREM’s Law of Habeas Corpus, Certiorari, Mandamus and Emergency Legislation says that “Nobody has the right to make decision in the case in which they get engaged”. This law principle is the prime of fair judiciary in the world.

4. Thus, according to the investigation ways and practices, as those 301 representatives who proposed to impeach the Chairman of Constitutional Tribunal of the Union and members, have no rights to participate in Pyithu Hluttaw Investigation Board, they are objected.

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