The ICJ, in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General of the Union of Myanmar, held a two-day academic seminar in Naypyitaw entitled “The Prerogative Writs under the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar”.
At the event, which took place on 14 – 15 February 2013, opening remarks were given by His Excellency Dr. Tun Shin, Attorney General of the Union of Myanmar and Mr. Saman-Zarifi, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of International Commission of Jurists, to a total of approximately 40 public prosecutors and judges.
The aim of the seminar was to discuss and contribute to the application of the recently re-introduced prerogative writs, namely, habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, under Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution which came into force in early 2011.
The seminar allowed ICJ to not only gain a deeper insight into the current writ practices in Myanmar but also permitted the Office of the Attorney General to draw best practices from other countries, such as Australia, Philippines and Malaysia.
The topics addressed during the seminar were the importance of prerogative writs in ensuring justice and upholding the rule of law; specific international standards on the independence of prosecutors and their role in the justice system; how writ cases are handled, challenges faced by the prosecutors and the burden of proof; and the powers of the judiciary to promulgate its own rules to ensure fundamental rights, as in the case of the Supreme Court in Philippines.
Panelists included Justice John Dowd AO QC, former Chairman of the International Commission of Jurists; Justice Adolfo Azcuna, Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy and former Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines; and Mr. Andrew Khoo of the Malaysian Bar Council.