According to The New Light of Myanmar
(see article below), Myanmar Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo gave a speech before a group of judges and called on them to resist corruption. Notably, the chief justice endorsed the Bangalore Draft Code of Judicial Conduct
, a set of judicial best practices adopted by the United Nations in 2002.
This isn’t the first time Supreme Court justices have talked about the Bangalore Principles. However, in the context of the draft contempt of court bill the Supreme Court recently submitted to the Hluttaw, the chief justice’s speech is interesting and potentially well timed. It could allow the court to say that it will do its part in cleaning up its own house, and in return it will ask citizens to honor its integrity. However, Myanmar has not yet adopted the Bangalore Principles formally, which the court might do in a code of judicial ethics.
Chief Justice of the Union calls for adherence to Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct
Nay Pyi Taw, 7 Feb- Chief Justice of the Union U Tun Tun Oo called for making rational decision based on virtue, probity and expertise in jurisdiction at the fourth coordination meeting of the Supreme Court of the Union with region/state high courts and district courts at the meeting hall of the Supreme Court here yesterday morning. He called for logical consistency in making judgement of a case, urging them to cultivate moral courage to resist outside influences.
He demanded emergence of reliable jurisdiction in line with principles embodied in Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.
Present at the meeting were judges of the supremecourt, chief judges of region/state high courts, region/state judicial officers and district court judges.
The meeting concludes tomorrow.-MNA
Yet another horror story from Indonesia’s judicial system! Justice Ahmad Yamani was fired from the Supreme Court after it was revealed that he conspired with the court registrar to reduce the sentence of a convicted drug trafficker from 15 ears imprisonment to 12.
The Judicial Commission (KY) is now investigating the other two justices who sat on the panel with Yamani, Justices Imron Anwari and Nyak Pha. According to The Jakarta Post, Yamani testified that the reduction in sentence occurred at the instruction of Justice Imron.
While money laundering expert Yenti Ganarsih hopes that the Corruption Eradication Commission can investigate the case in order to uncover the “judicial mafia” that plagues Indonesia’s court system. However, the same The Jakarta Post article also mentions concerns for worry about the political leadership’s commitment to combatting narcotics trafficking. President Yudhoyono has granted clemencies for several drug convicts, suggesting a larger trend.
One thing I’ve said repeatedly is that I’m worried Myanmar’s judiciary is going the way of Indonesia’s, at least to the extent that Reformasi did not tackle judicial corruption when they had the chance. This is why I worry when I saw Justice U Soe Nyunt’s testimony in the Pyithu Hluttaw last week. According to The New Light of Myanmar, the justice claimed that allegations of corruption were merely hearsay. Perhaps, but only because researchers and journalists haven’t ben able to do the type of rigorous research needed to expose corruption.
Fortunately, the Hluttaw Rule of Law Committee is allegedly working on a judicial reform bill, so the issue isn’t being completely ignored. However, much of what we’re heard publicly from the NLD focuses on “judicial independence”. I hope the government recognizes that courts need both independence and accountability.
The New Light of Myanmar reprinted below:
Alleged cases of corruption at different levels of courts not hold water: Supreme Court Judge
Nay Pyi Taw, 25 Oct- As the Pyithu Hluttaw session continued for the sixth day, U Than Tun of Debayin Constituency raised a question about measures for fighting against corruption at court at different levels and U Myint Tun of Kawthoung Constituency about measures of the Supreme Court of the Union for strengthening of judicial pillar, a proposal approved by Pyithu Hluttaw.
Judge of the Supreme Court of the Union U Soe Nyunt described the alleged corruption at different levels of courts from the ground as misleading hearsay without creditability. The Supreme Court of the Union he said has issued instructions to prevent against bribery, corruption, fraud and negligence of judges and personnel at different levels of courts. Such measures as multi-level enforcement, punitive actions against failure to observe instructions and investigation and punishment on receiving complaints are in practice to enforce the instructions. As regards the question of U Myint Tun, he replied that the Supreme Court of the Union has prepared itself to take advices as necessary if the other three pillars are to support the judicial branch. He reckoned that the Supreme Court of the Union would not need to issue law, by-law, order and instruction with regard to proposal passed by the Pyithu Hluttaw. -NLM
Just under a year ago, the Philippine Supreme Court issued a TRO preventing authorities from detaining former president Arroyo. Now, Arroyo stands accused of plunder along with 9 other defendants in a trial before the Sandiganbayan (anticorruption court). Arroyo and her co-defendants are accused of misusing funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
According to reports
yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a TRO enjoining the court from issuing an arrest warrant for Arroyo. Allegedly, a TRO for one of Arroyo’s co-defendnats was to have covered her claims as well.
Today, according to PhilStar
, the Supreme Court backtracked and has said Arroyo’s request for a TRO must be considered separately. Regardless, the Sandiganbayan had already continued the trial assuming the TRO did not cover Arroyo.
Of course, given the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato last year, it’s hard to believe that a TRO against the Arroyo corruption trial won’t produce a backlash. However, the Aquino administration seems less confrontational – at least at this point. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda even reacted to the bizarre news by stating, “Well, we respect, again, that is a decision coming from the Supreme Court and as always we respect the jurisdiction of the SC.”
A few weeks ago I posted a news article in which Indonesia’s Supreme Court and KPK agreed on a corruption case – no small news. Now, the Constitutional Case has supported the Supreme Court’s decision in another corruption case – this time dismissing a challenge against the constitutionality of the prosecutor’s appeal when a corruption defendant was acquitted. Read more in The Jakarta Post.