Impunity and Judicial Independence

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The last few years have seen some encouraging developments against impunity in the Asian region. Indonesia’s first democratically elected government for decades is addressing violations committed by the previous President Suharto and military commanders. In Israel, a military court convicted an army officer over the death of teenager - the first time a soldier has been convicted over the death of a Palestinian since the start of the current intifada. Cambodia, while still suffering many problems, seems to be moving ahead with the recent agreement for an international tribunal to investigate previous abuses. A Special Panel for Serious Crimes has been established in East Timor. The new Malaysian Prime Minister has directed moves against corruption in the country - a government minister and other senior government officials are now standing trial on charges of embezzling state funds.
What do these examples mean? Are these and other international developments - such as the 1998 arrest of Chile’s ex-President on torture charges, and the development of the International Criminal Court – just isolated incidents? Or is there a trend toward increasing observance of the rule of law? More relevantly, what significance do they have for Burma and what use can be made of international developments in addressing the situation in Burma? This article attempts to answer these questions in the following five parts:
(1) causes of impunity;
(2) combating impunity;
(3) judicial independence;
(4) Burma - impunity and judicial independence; and
(5) conclusions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-90
Number of pages50
JournalLegal Issues on Burma Journal
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


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