Myanmar's transition without justice

Journal article


Renshaw, Catherine. (2019). Myanmar's transition without justice. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs. 38(3), pp. 381-403. https://doi.org/10.1177/1868103419893527
AuthorsRenshaw, Catherine
Abstract

Myanmar’s transition towards a limited form of constitutional democracy is taking place in the absence of national measures to deal with the legacy of massive human rights abuses: without criminal prosecutions for historical crimes; without the establishment of institutions for truth-telling; without reparations. This article considers the escalation of violence against ethnic minorities during the early period of Myanmar’s democratic transition in the context of the claim that transitional justice has the potential to deter future atrocities. First, the article explains why the military, the democratic opposition, Western states, and the United Nations (UN), all accepted that Myanmar’s democratisation should proceed without the establishment of institutions and processes of transitional justice. Second, the article shows how, in the absence of transitional justice, the transitional government attempted to bolster the rule of law by conducting its own investigations into allegations of misconduct by the military and through low-level prosecutions of individual military officers, and explains why this strategy failed. Finally, the article considers the potential impact of recent efforts at the international level to establish accountability, such as the UN Human Rights Council’s establishment of an Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, the International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings related to the crime against humanity of deportation, and the case bought by Gambia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Myanmar’s violation of the Genocide Convention.

Keywordsdemocratisation; transitional justice; Myanmar
Year2019
JournalJournal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs
Journal citation38 (3), pp. 381-403
PublisherSAGE Publications Inc.
ISSN1868-1034
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1868103419893527
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85102008681
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range381-403
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted11 Oct 2019
Deposited11 Aug 2021
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