What are military tribunals in Myanmar?

*For the Burmese version of this post see here The military regime in Myanmar has begun to use martial law orders. As I explain here, this represents a serious escalation in the response by the military. One aspect of martial law or military administration is that the Tatmadaw presumes this allows it to establish militaryContinue reading “What are military tribunals in Myanmar?”

What is martial law in Myanmar?

[Burmese version available here] The military regime has recently declared martial law orders in some townships of Yangon. Its important to understand what this means and how it differs from section 144 orders. The declaration of martial law now is a sign of a rapid deterioration of the situation and the beginning of direct militaryContinue reading “What is martial law in Myanmar?”

Did the Myanmar coup install an illegitimate president?

*This post first appeared in The Diplomat on 11 March In every major city in Myanmar, protestors have denounced the February 1 coup, calling for an end to military rule and the restoration of democracy. Resistance has taken many forms and has been supported by local lawyers who have shown that the coup was unconstitutional.Continue reading “Did the Myanmar coup install an illegitimate president?”

The power of women under Myanmar’s military coup

Why are people in Yangon and elsewhere hanging up women’s skirts? See cultural anthropologist Melford Spiro’s classic work [Kinship and Marriage in Burma: A Cultural and Psychodynamic Analysis ,1977]: “In Burma, the primary reason offered for male superiority is the belief that men possess that innate, inborn quality, known as hpoun…[it] is a psycho-spiritual quality,Continue reading “The power of women under Myanmar’s military coup”

Webinar: Constitutional Breakdowns, Coups, Crises and Disruptions: Experiences from the Commonwealth

This webinar will consider the paralysis in governance caused by a constitutional crisis. Is there a legitimating process? To what extent can the principles of separation of powers be invoked as a check and balance on abuse of power? An important feature in this discourse is the role of the Courts as the sentinel ofContinue reading “Webinar: Constitutional Breakdowns, Coups, Crises and Disruptions: Experiences from the Commonwealth”

After Myanmar’s coup: Can the military hold a new election?

*This article first appeared in the University of Melbourne’s Election Watch, 26 February 2021 Elections hold a controversial place in politics in Myanmar. In 2010, after decades of military rule, first under the guise of socialism and then through martial law, the military chose to reintroduce multi-party elections and to honour the results of theContinue reading “After Myanmar’s coup: Can the military hold a new election?”

Decoding the amendments to the Penal Code

The Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure are more familiar to many people in Myanmar than the Constitution itself. This is because of the use, overuse or misuse of these laws. By amending these laws, the military is revealing its own vulnerabilities and insecurities. Orders 5 and 6 issued by the military make severalContinue reading “Decoding the amendments to the Penal Code”

Whats wrong with the rights in Myanmar’s Constitution

I hesitate in writing this post, as I have with many others. Explaining how an authoritarian constitution works is a separate matter from endorsing it, but often the two can get confused. To be clear, I do not agree with Chapter VIII on rights and duties in the Constitution, but I want to explain howContinue reading “Whats wrong with the rights in Myanmar’s Constitution”

Who has the power to release prisoners?

On 12 February, the military released thousands of criminals from prison (note: this is not unusual, on the same day last year, the former president pardoned 25,000 prisoners). The Commander in Chief claimed to be exercising presidential power under section 204(a) of the Constitution (Order 58/2021). This is an example of the Commander in ChiefContinue reading “Who has the power to release prisoners?”

Coopting Federalism: Union Day and the Three Main National Causes

Today was Union Day in Myanmar. This is the day that commemorates the signing of the Panglong Agreement in 1947. It is customary for a government to set out its priorities on this day. The military’s priorities this year share broad similarities with the NLD’s in 2020. Both refer to the Three Main National Causes,Continue reading “Coopting Federalism: Union Day and the Three Main National Causes”