By: Louise Requin / GICJ
Video by: Sanzhar Aitkulov / GICJ
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted to prison on Monday 6th of December 2021, by the military government who deposed her in February. Since the military power takeover in February earlier this year, over ten cases were brought against the former State Counsellor of Myanmar and Nobel prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi. After deliberation in a military-ruled court, it appears that she will spend two years in jail. The sentence was originally for four years, and was later commuted to two.
The court brought a number of the civilian leaders from the previous government to prosecution under various charges. Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with incitement and violating Covid-19 rules. The incitement charge refers to statements where she denounced the military coup of February 2021, and called on organizations not to cooperate with the regime change. Since then, the military kept her in undisclosed location. It is worth mentioning, that the regime had kept her on house arrest for fifteen years (1989 to 2010), and it is likely that she will spend her detention under similar conditions.
Aung San Suu Kyi was perceived in the international community as a leader for democracy and carried great hopes for civilian rule in Myanmar for years. However, since the power-sharing agreement with the military in 2015, countless human rights violations have taken place, under her leadership. Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, detention of journalists and activists as well as the Rohingya genocide. There is little evidence that she did anything to stop it, and she failed to speak up against it despite the numerous appeals from states and NGOs from around the world. On the contrary, she went so far as to deny its occurrence before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This position led to the calls of many NGOs to withdraw her Nobel Peace Prize.
The ruling has drawn international criticism, from her supporters in Myanmar but also from UN Myanmar investigator Thomas Andrews who called on the international community to increase pressure on the military government and called out its illegitimacy. Civil society organizations are calling the charges unfounded and designed to silence opposition in Myanmar. The court’s decision comes after a long list of arbitrary sentences against activists, journalists and innocent civilians since the military takeover. Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) condemns the ruling of the military court and calls for a fair and independent trial to be granted to Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.
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