Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Rangoon top court accepts Suu Kyi lawsuit over NLD

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Rangoon Central Supreme Court yesterday accepted a lawsuit filed by detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi challenging the Burmese junta’s dissolution of her party, her lawyers said. 

suu-kyi-campbell2ssSuu Kyi’s Lawyers, Kyi Win and Nyan Win, had filed the suit on her behalf on Tuesday and the top court in the former Burmese capital accepted the case at 3 p.m. yesterday, they said.

The legal challenge comes after the junta’s electoral watchdog, the Union Election Commission (UEC), formally declared the National League for Democracy (NLD) dissolved on September 14, citing the Burmese dictatorship’s party registration laws.

Burmese courts this year rejected a similar lawsuit in April challenging the Political Parties Registration Law, which with the controversial 2008 constitution, forms the junta’s widely criticised legal framework for the country’s first elections in 20 years on November 7.  

“The court hearing was not scheduled so we need to read the court’s noticeboard every Friday, [the day] the court issues notices about legal cases. We expect that our party can stand legally,” lawyer Nyan Win told Mizzima.

Kyi Win said: “She filed the lawsuit against the junta. So, the Attorney General’s office is the defendant.”

Suu Kyi’s legal team, including Khin Htay Kywe, returned to the Supreme Court last night seeking an answer to the case filing.

The UEC also disbanded nine other political parties for failing to renew their party registrations. The NLD had decided in March to boycott the coming election describing it as “not inclusive and undemocratic”.

The new election laws target Suu Kyi (and other imprisoned opposition party members), prohibiting her from participating in elections as she is currently serving a term under house arrest for breaking an “internal security law”.  The junta convicted her over the uninvited visit in May last year by American citizen John Yettaw, who had swum across Inya Lake, Rangoon and entered Suu Kyi’s property two weeks before her scheduled release from house arrest on May 27. 

Suu Kyi has spent most of the past two decades in detention, after leading the NLD to win 82 per cent of the vote in country’s last election in 1990. The junta refused to relinquish power to her party.

Her detention breaches Article Nine of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” In Article 21, Section One, it also states that “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.”

The Burmese military regime has been subject to international outcry and floods of accusations for well-documented war crimes and abuses of human rights, which have led to calls for a UN-backed commission of inquiry. United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana proposed such an inquiry in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in March, and the call has gained the support of 12 governments so far, including Australia, Britain, the United States, France and most recently, Lithuania.

The NLD attempted to sue Burmese junta leader Than Shwe this year stating that the election laws were unfair, but the Supreme Court told the party such a case was beyond its jurisdiction.

Nyan Win expressed defiance in an interview with a Burmese media outlet that: “We will not give up, even though we’ve had previous experiences with failed lawsuits.”

In response to a query about the next meeting he would hold with the detained Nobel Peace laureate, Suu Kyi, he said: “I had proposed to meet ‘the lady’ last week but there has been no response to the request from the authorities.”

Former Senior General Saw Maung, who chaired the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), held a general election in May 1990 in which the NLD won its landslide victory. Section 3 of the former People’s Parliament laws enacted in 1989, said the parliament must be formed from MPs elected in the 1990 vote. Slorc’s statement 1990 concurred with the former People’s Parliament laws but the junta ignored the NLD victory and refused to transfer power to the NLD. 

“The junta held elections in 1990. That election was recognised internationally as free and fair. The former electoral commission also declared that the 1990 election was free and fair,” Kyi Win said. “But the junta failed to organise the parliament without any reason. So their [knowledge of] history is poor. They [the junta generals] are an illegal entity and we tried to sue them for the sake of the electoral history of Burma.”

Under the junta’s Political Parties Registration Law, if existing parties failed to re-register before May 6 this year, they would be dissolved. Given that, the NLD tried to sue the junta on April 29, but the Rangoon Division Court refused to hear the case.


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