July 4, 2019
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) today announces the release of a report on a trial observation conducted in Myanmar into the proceedings taken against four accused charged with the murder of U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer. The IBAHRI welcomes the concern evidenced by Government of Myanmar officials regarding the need to respond vigorously to the murder of the leading human rights lawyer. However, as the observers who attended the trial from 16 June 2017 to 15 February 2019 noted many instances where basic rights for those accused were not respected, the IBAHRI emphasises that it is vital to uphold essential human rights in the criminal process taken against those accused.
The report, The murder of U Ko Ni: IBAHRI trial observation highlights fair trial concerns in Myanmar, reveals the conduct of Myanmar’s authorities as having fallen significantly short of both international and domestic legal standards which safeguard the accused’s right to a fair trial. The report identifies a number of serious breaches of fundamental human rights, including: failure of police to follow legal procedures; continued detention of those accused of bailable offences; allegations of torture and ill-treatment during detention; intimidation of witnesses; denial of access to a lawyer during pre-trial detention; failure of the court to exclude evidence obtained unlawfully; obstruction of the defence’s access to evidence; failure to respond to threats against lawyers; inappropriate deference towards the testimonies of Buddhist monks; and imposition of the mandatory death penalty.