Po­lice chief ad­dresses com­pen­sa­tion and set­tle­ment

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

EM­PLOY­ING an un­usual in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, Myan­mar’s head of po­lice said “mi­nor cases” can be ne­go­ti­ated ex­tra-ju­di­cially with a set­tle­ment for the vic­tim, but more “well-known” crim­i­nal cases with na­tion­wide reper­cus­sions should see trial.

Po­lice Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Zaw Win was speak­ing on Oc­to­ber 1 at the 52nd an­niver­sary of Myan­mar Po­lice Day, held in the cap­i­tal.

While he did not name any par­tic­u­lar cases, his re­marks ap­peared to be an al­lu­sion to pub­lic out­rage over the fi­nan­cial pit­tance ar­ranged to set­tle the long-term abuse of two teenage do­mes­tic work­ers. In­ves­ti­ga­tions have been launched into both the Kyauk­tada town­ship po­lice for fail­ing to re­spond to ini­tial com­plaints of the case, and the Myan­mar Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion for ne­go­ti­at­ing the set­tle­ment.

“Cases can be settled,” U Zaw Win said. “The court should de­cide if the set­tle­ment is an amount that is wor­thy of the of­fence if the vic­tim de­cides to set­tle. But ma­jor cases, such as murder, rape, rob­bery, nar­cotic drug cases and hu­man traf­fick­ing, re­late not only to the in­di­vid­ual vic­tim but also to the pub­lic. So such cases should be ex­e­cuted in line with the law rather than try­ing to di­min­ish the crime [through set­tle­ment].”

Cases of hu­man traf­fick­ing are a par­tic­u­lar con­cern, he said, and added that the Myan­mar Po­lice Force is now not only tak­ing care to com­bat cross-bor­der hu­man traf­fick­ing cases but is also in­creas­ingly alert for do­mes­tic hu­man traf­fick­ing and mon­i­tor­ing busi­nesses where such cases tend to oc­cur, in­clud­ing the house­maid in­dus­try, em­ploy­ment agen­cies and the fish­eries sec­tor.

Vice Pres­i­dent U Myint Swe, who also at­tended the cer­e­mony, said that po­lice need to com­ply with rules and reg­u­la­tions, as well as codes of moral re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, in or­der to best pro­tect the pub­lic and be free of graft. Po­lice are one of the least trusted in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try, with an­nual graft rank­ings – such as watch­dog Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional’s an­nual Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion In­dex – con­sis­tently rat­ing the force as among the world’s most cor­rupt.

U Myint Swe added that alert­ing po­lice to cases and crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties through so­cial me­dia was an ef­fec­tive way to re­port com­plaints.

“With de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies, crim­i­nals are us­ing new modus operandi to com­mit crimes, ter­rors and vi­o­lence, hence the need for po­lice forces at all lev­els to sus­tain­ably up­grade their abil­i­ties,” the vice pres­i­dent was quoted as say­ing in state me­dia.

The po­lice di­rec­tor gen­eral added that new types of cases have been emerg­ing since the bur­geon­ing of the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia in Myan­mar. He added that the out­pour­ing on­line of re­li­giously mo­ti­vated hate speech and dis­crim­i­na­tory pro­pa­ganda is es­pe­cially con­cern­ing.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

Of­fi­cers were pre­sented awards of hon­our at the 52nd an­niver­sary of Myan­mar Po­lice Day on Oc­to­ber 1.

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