Myanmar: second Dialogue with Supreme Court on implementing a code of Judicial Ethics

Myanmar’s Supreme Court engages in 2nd High Level Dialogue with the ICJ on Drafting and Implementing a New Judicial Code of Ethics and Accountability.

The ICJ, the United Nations Development Program and the Office of the Supreme Court of the Union (OSCU) held a High Level Dialogue on “Implementing a Code of Judicial Ethics” in Nay Pyi Taw on 30-31 May 2016.

This dialogue followed a commitment by the OSCU to draft a code and to ensure it is informed by and implemented in accordance with international best practice. The OSCU’s Judicial Ethics Review Committee, Supreme Court and High Court Judges and other senior court administrators participated in the dialogue.

Building on the previous dialogue’s focus on the contents of a code of ethics, the participants and their international counterparts from the ICJ and UNDP discussed international standards for accountability and implementation mechanisms to accompany a code of ethics.

In opening the dialogue, the Honourable Supreme Court Justice of the Union, U Mya Thien explained that the new code reflected international standards and would enhance public trust and promote accountability in the Judiciary.

In his opening remarks, ICJ Commissioner and Justice of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Azhar Cachalia, explained the importance of the code as a basis for legitimacy and independence.

He stressed that the judiciary must become accountable to the public.

“Myanmar has an historic opportunity to make decisions that will shape the judiciary for generations to come,” he said.

During the dialogue, the UNDP’s Elodie Beth outlined research on regional judicial accountability and its lessons for Myanmar.

Sam Zarifi, the ICJ’s Regional Director shared experience and international standards on implementing a code of ethics Zarifi explained that “in order for it to be effective, the Supreme Court must establish mechanisms and institutions to hold judges accountable to the code of ethics.”

All participants agreed that implementing a proper code of ethics would strengthen the accountability and independence of Myanmar’s judiciary.

Both the UNDP and the ICJ congratulated the OSCU for following its Strategic Plan for 2015-2018 and engaging in a dialogue designed to further this process.

Both expressed willingness to continue working with Myanmar’s judiciary on the issues of judicial independence, the rule of law and human rights.

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