Supreme Court judge’s apology defuses conflict with MPs


NAY PYI TAW — Supreme Court Judge U Soe Nyunt has averted a possible confrontation with lawmakers by apologising for his allegation that they had damaged the dignity of the judiciary.

The feud ignited in the Pyithu Hluttaw in early March, when U Tin Htwe (National League for Democracy, Waw) submitted a proposal urging the Supreme Court to reform the “corrupted” judiciary.

While lawmakers approved the motion on March 7, Soe Nyunt said the accusation of corruption had been made without any evidence and damaged the dignity of the judicial system.

He also asserted that the proposal was invalid as it did not conform to parliamentary standing orders. Lawmakers later described this claim as “insulting” to both the legislature and the speaker, U Win Myint.

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On May 22 he fronted the legislature to withdraw his remarks so they could be removed from the parliamentary record. He also apologised and asked for forgiveness, telling the speaker and lawmakers that he had not intended to insult anyone.

“There was some misunderstanding because of my poor presentation. In fact, I had no intention whatsoever to turn against the MPs,” he said.

U Win Myint offered no comment on the apology and the Hluttaw session continued as planned.

Analysts said the resolution of the dispute had reconfirmed the system of checks and balances in Myanmar’s constitution.

“I think the judiciary when too far when responding to this issue,” said U Htin Aye Kyaw, a research director at Open Myanmar Initiative, which monitors the legislature. “Its apology means that it acknowledges the legislature and accepts the need to act as a check and balance on each other. “

Htin Aye Kyaw said it was positive that the dispute had been defused before it could escalate further – unlike in 2012, when the national parliament impeached all members of the Constitutional Tribunal due to a ruling that lawmakers disagreed with.

“It is a good sign that it ended this way without getting any bigger,” he said.

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