Tag Archives: Burma

Burma: Court Revises Charges in U Ko Ni Assassination Case

June 18, 2018

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The Yangon Regional High Court on Monday revised the charges against several of the accused in last year’s assassination of U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy.

“This is not a result of outside speculation. I make this ruling based on [my own] judgment,” Yangon high court judge U Aung Naing said before announcing his decision.

The judge dropped charges relating to the importing/exporting and possession of firearms against accused conspirator Aung Win Zaw. He had been charged under Sections 19 (d) and 19 (f) of the 1878 Arms Act.

He will now face charges of conspiracy to commit murder under Section 302.(1) (b) of the Penal Code along with Kyi Lin, who fatally shot U Ko Ni, and taxi driver U Ne Win.

Additionally, the charge against fellow suspect Zeya Phyo was changed from conspiracy to commit murder to aiding and abetting an offender (from Section 302. (1) (b)/34 to 302. (1) (b)/109).







Burma/Aurora Prize: Rohingya activist wins $1 million humanitarian prize

June 11, 2018

An activist who has spent 40 years fighting for Rohingya rights has won $100,000 for his work, and a further $1 million to donate to charities of his choice.

Kyaw Hla Aung, a lawyer who focuses on educational and health care rights for his community in Myanmar, was announced as the winner of the Aurora Prize on Sunday. The award includes a $100,000 grant, and the opportunity to nominate three organizations to share a $1 million donation.

During a ceremony held near the Turkish-Armenian border on Sunday morning, he said he would spend the grant on “education and humanitarian affairs” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and added that he hoped the profile of the award would offer him some protection. He has been arrested and imprisoned multiple times for his work.

“I am in fear of arrest because this is a [situation] of genocide,” he said, pointing to the case of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer who was assassinated outside Yangon International Airport last year.





1 Million $ Aurora Prize Awarded to Rohingya Human Rights Defender Kyaw Hla Aung



https://burmese.voanews.com/a/aurora-award-kyaw-hla-aung-/4432462.html (BURMESE)

http://www.collectifvan.org/article.php?r=5&id=99192 (FRANCAIS)

https://auroraprize.com/es/aurora/detail/13251/el-premio-aurora-prize-2018-se-entreg%25C3%25B3-a-kyaw-hla-aung (ESPANOL)

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/weltspiegel/aurora-preis-zur-foerderung-von-menschlichkeit-retter-in-der-not/22663514.html (DEUTSCH)

http://www.bbc.com/somali/war-44433833 (SOMALI)

Burma: Yangon High Court to Weigh Changes to Charges in U Ko Ni Murder Case in Late May

May 3, 2018

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The Yangon Region High Court will hear lawyers’ requests on May 25 to change the charges against the accused in connection with the assassination last year of U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy party.

“Defense and prosecution lawyers will make their arguments in court that day. The court will then make a decision whether or not to change the original charges filed by the Yangon North District Court,” prosecution lawyer U Khin Maung Htay told reporters.

The defendants have requested that the charges be reduced, while the prosecution is seeking to stiffen them. As such, the High Court, the highest court in Yangon, will hear the issue on May 25 although it may not make a final decision on that day.

The alleged assassin, Kyi Lin, and three accused co-conspirators, Aung Win ZawAung Win Tun, and Zeya Phyo, appeared at the Yangon North District Court on Thursday, but as the Yangon Region Supreme Court has not made a decision on their charges, the North District Court fixed the next trial date for May 17. Although the High Court will not have ruled on the charges by then, court procedure dictates the defendants must appear at the North District Court regardless.



International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute ANNUAL REVIEW 2017

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The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has launched its 2017 Annual Review, providing an overview of the IBAHRI’s major activities over the year.

2017 was a difficult year for human rights: since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago, it appears that we are now reaching a point where the universal acceptance of human rights is being eroded. Increasingly polarised political spheres and growing support for populist governments are resulting in policies that scapegoat minorities, attack the under-represented and persecute those who oppose these governments.

In this atmosphere, protection of human rights, the rule of law and an independent legal profession are more important than ever. This makes the work of the IBAHRI more important than ever. Since its establishment in 1995, the IBAHRI has endeavoured to defend fundamental human rights through the promotion and protection of the independence of the legal profession, and by providing members of the global legal community with the tools needed to do the same.


As part of its ongoing projects in the Americas, the IBAHRI provided torture-prevention training to legal professionals, including judges and public defenders, across Brazil and Mexico. In El Salvador, the IBAHRI brought a high-level delegation of experts on the rights to justice, truth and historical memory to meet with legal professionals, the executive, armed forces, CSOs and academia with a view to achieving justice effectively and realising the rights of those who suffered human rights abuses as a result of the 12-year civil war. Additionally, the IBAHRI continued to monitor the emblematic trial of Venezuelan Judge María Lourdes Afiuni, and sent open letters to President Donald Trump of the United States, which criticised the President and his administration for actions the IBAHRI felt were ‘diametrically opposed to the defence of human rights’.

In Asia Pacific, the IBAHRI worked with the newly established Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar to continue its work in the country, and has been running a trial observation programme to ensure those responsible for the death of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni are brought to justice. In Timor-Leste, the IBAHRI has consolidated its presence in the country by seeking to strengthen the legal profession and supporting the creation of its first national bar association.

The IBAHRI launched a mentorship programme for junior Azerbaijani lawyers that linked them with more experienced senior lawyers, and held a Law Student Conference in Baku, among other activities intended to advocate for the rights of legal professionals in the country. We also facilitated attendance at various OSCE Meetings for lawyers in GeorgiaKazakhstan and Tajikistan as part of the IBAHRI’s ongoing work in Europe and Central Asia.



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In Tajikistan, reforms undertaken by the Qualifications Committee set up by the Ministry of Justice drastically decreased the number of practising lawyers.

Read more about the situation of Tajik lawyers and the work the IBAHRI has done in partnership with the Tajikistan Barristers’ Union here:https://tinyurl.com/y7rhftx4

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 9/5/18)

Burma: Ko Ni murder: hearing suspended

March 22, 2018

The latest hearing in the trial of suspected assassin Kyi Lin and three conspirators at Northern District Court was suspended today, apparently because the case files had been sent to Yangon Regional Court.

Ye Lwin, the deputy judge and information officer at Northern District Court in Yangon, said that the Regional Court had requested the files because both lawyers had submitted appeals.

“The district court cannot hold a hearing if it has no case files,” he told reporters. “The next hearing will be on 5 April, provided the Regional Court returns the files in time.”

Kyi Lin stands accused of murdering Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and senior adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi. Ko Ni was gunned down in broad daylight at Yangon International Airport on 29 January 2017. The accused gunman, Kyi Lin, was arrested at the airport shortly after the murder, largely thanks to a vigilante cohort that chased him down, including 42-year-old taxi driver Nay Win, who was also shot dead.

Ko Ni was well-known for his efforts to amend Burma’s controversial, military-drafted constitution. Several voices, including Burma’s minister for home affairs, have insinuated that Ko Ni was assassinated at the orders of Buddhist extremists.





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The IBAHRI made statements before the Human Rights Council (HRC) calling upon the government of Myanmar to investigate the death of U No Ki and to cooperate with the fact-finding mission as stated in the HRC/34/L.8 Resolution on Myanmar. The IBAHRI also raised concern regarding the violence in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States.

Read more about this issue in the 2017 Annual Review: https://tinyurl.com/y7rhftx4

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook 2/5/18)

Burma: Suspects in NLD Lawyer’s Killing Will Ask to Review Indictment at Divisional Court

March 9, 2018

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The defense lawyers for the four suspects in the killing of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni will present a criminal revision petition to the Yangon Division High Court next week, requesting that the judge reconsider the indictment order issued by the Northern District Court.

U Kyaw Kyaw Htike, the defense lawyer for accused gunman Kyi Lin, told The Irrawaddy after the 48th court hearing for U Ko Ni’s murder trial on Friday that he will present the criminal revision to the divisional court on March 16 on behalf of all of the defendants.

U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy party, was gunned down outside Yangon International Airport on Jan. 29 last year. Police detained four suspects in connection with the crime: accused gunman Kyi Lin and three alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

After nearly a year of preliminary hearings, the court charged Aung Win Tun under the Penal Code’s Article 212, which prohibits harboring an offender but allowed him to stand trial on bail last month after he deposited 50 million kyats (about US$37,300) for his release from custody. The other three suspects were indicted for premeditated murder, which carries life sentences.





Burma: Lawyer, protester facing trial for ‘insult’ during 2015 protest

February 13, 2018

The Myanmar Times

A MAN who took part in the 2015 protest for the democratisation of education and a lawyer who defended the jailed protesters are facing trial two-and-a-half years after the fact, according to the Union Lawyers & Paralegals Association.

They are being prosecuted by Tharrawaddy township for insulting a public officer on duty, under criminal law section 228.

The passage of the National Education Law in September 2014 sparked a protest by student unions, who said the law was too strict. On March 10, 2015, security forces beat protesting students at Letpadan township in Bago Region, injuring about three dozen. About 100 protesters were arrested.

In April 2016, during the early days of the NLD government, the student protesters’ case was closed and those arrested were released. However, lawyer Daw Khin Khin Kyaw, who defended the protesters, and Ko Than Htike, who joined the protests, still face trial nearly two-and-a-half years later.


Prosecution by Tharrawaddy township started in September 2015, and the two defendants have appeared in court 52 times.

Daw Khin Kyaw Kyaw, lawyer of the accused, said: “I was prosecuted while covering the students’ cases. When the new government was elected, the NLD closed that case and other political cases but not our case.

“It has been a long time and it is really exhausting for me. The trial is wasting my time and money. They are prosecuting a lawyer with section 228, which is a law from the colonial era. This law should not remain under a democratic regime,” she added.