The record of the press meet held by the Tatmadaw True News Information Team on the internal peace process, endeavours of the Tatmadaw and AA insurgent group
From previous day
NAY PYI TAW August 8
The press meet on the internal peace process, endeavours of the Tatmadaw and AA insurgent group was held at Defence Services Museum (Nay Pyi Taw) from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm on 23 July 2019. Fifteen members of the Tatmadaw True News Information Team and 44 reporters of 22 news agencies were present.
A: Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo replied that I have no remark about the PPCM. The PPCM and the PPST is the internal issue of KNU group. The journalists would know more about it. It would become clearer if the points Phado Marn Nyein Maung and Phado Saw Tar Do Hmu from KNU mentioned were studied. U Khun Okkar said about the PPST and the PPCM among ten EAOs, ethnic NCA signatories.
The problem of the PPST and the PPCM was clarified among ten EAOs. The government and Tat-madaw are following the NCA route. The PPCM is also the internal problem of KNU group or ten EAOs. It is nothing to do with the government and Tatmadaw. The government and Tatmadaw are going ahead according to the NCA route and so remarks were not made.
Q: Reporter U Aung Thura of BBC news agency asked that when the chairman of KBC met with Donald Trump, Tatmadaw was accused of oppressing Christian religion in Myanmar. Let me know the attitude and the stance of Tatmadaw.
A: Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun replied that the four people including the chairman of the KBC met with the US President. The first point I want to mention is that Tatmadaw is formed with different national races. Tatmadaw has different religions and so it has no religious oppression. The second point is that Lagyaw Gan Sai was not imprisoned because he conducted the reporters in Mongkoe fight. De De Naung Latt and Lagyaw Gan Sai, during the fighting, carried arms and ammunitions for the KIA and recruited new members as well as provided fuel and provisions. They were interrogated and were sued under Section 17/1 of Unofficial Association Law. According to the statements in the court, one was sentenced to four years and three months and the other to two years and three months. They were released on the presidential amnesty in April in 2018 and they are just insurgents. The insurgents did not tell true stories, but they said that they were unfairly arrested because of religious oppression. It is some kind of thinking that those against the government and Tatmadaw are highlighted under the pretext of the religion.
Q: Reporter U Maung Maung Tun of News Watch news agency asked where Free Burma Ranger had been. Let me know about any clashes with Tatmadaw.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi replied that there was no answer.
Q: Reporter U Htet Naing Zaw of Irrawaddy news agency asked that he would like to know what were the attitude and the stance of Tatmadaw on the US’s visa ban on the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and two generals regarding Rakhine issue. International pressures as to Rakhine issue were on the increase. Tatmadaw has military tribunals. The commission was also formed and it was led only by a general. It was weak in releasing announcements. I would like to suggest that international pressure may be reduced if how to take action is stated. Therefore, let me know how Tatmadaw will overcome the international pressure.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi replied that the US imposed visa sanction against the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Commander-in-Chief (Army) and two high ranking officials. I have nothing to say about the US’s sanction as it does according to its law. However, the Tatmadaw is the organization founded in accordance with Constitution and is a part of the country. Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services are Union-level officials. The Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services performs the State defence duties as enshrined in the law. Tatmadaw is a part of the country and our country is an independent nation with sovereignty. We have government, legislature and judicial system. Though [the sanctions] are targeted on Tatmadaw leaders, as they are the part of the country and Union-level officials, we assume that it amounts to bullying the country, sovereignty, government, Tatmadaw and people and interference in internal affairs of our country. And they gave a weak excuse about them violating human rights. The fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution for every citizen are made sure to meet international norms and the Constitution also provides rights and responsibilities to ensure every citizen has equal human rights. Some big countries have double standards regarding the norms of human rights. Regarding human rights, there are Buddhist teachings in the country where Buddhism is the major religion. Basically, five precepts is our value. Tatmadaw does not accept human rights violations. Tatmadaw has to abide by civil laws and certain international laws besides Defence Services Act. We have never granted if our members violate human rights, civil laws, military code of conduct and Defence Services Act. There are significant examples. Regarding alleged human rights violations in military judicial system, and regarding the commuting of punishment for Tatmadawmen involved in Inn Din killings, I would like to explain the judicial system practised in Tatmadaw. The Defence Services Act 1959 was enacted by the Parliament in June, 1960. It was based on the law applied by the British in India during colonial period in 1911. In case of service personnel committing civil offences, there are Section 71 and 72 of Defence Services Act, and different levels of courts-martial. According to Section 72 of the Defence Services Act , if a military personnel commits a murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder or rape against a civilian, shall not be deemed to be guilty of an offence against the Defence Services Act and shall not be tried by a court-martial unless he commits any of the said offences; while on active service, or at any place outside the Union of Myanmar, or at a frontier post pacified by the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services by notification in this behalf. Active service, according to Section 3 (a) of Defence Services Act, is the time during which he is attached to, or forms part of, a force which is engaged in military operations against an enemy, or is engaged in military operations in, or is on the line of march to, a country or place wholly or partly occupied by an enemy, or is attached to or forms part of a force which is in military occupation of a foreign country. If a military person commits a murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder or rape against a civilian while he is in active service, he shall be tried by a court-martial.With regard to the choice between criminal court and court-martial, Section 128 and 129 of Defence Services Act state that when a criminal court and a court-martial have each jurisdiction in respect of an offence, it shall be in the discretion of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and the officer empowered to convene a general court-martial for the trial of the accused. Regarding the transparency of the military judicial system, close courts shall be convened for matters stated in Section 79 and 126 of the Defence Services Rules. Except them, other cases shall be heard in opened court. Suppose a soldier [wearing civilian clothes] commits an offence, and if he is found out to be a soldier during police custody or at trial at the civilian court, he shall be transferred to Tatmadaw. In accordance with Section 106 and 107 of Defence Services Act, and Section 549 of Code of Criminal Procedure, Paragraph 510 of Court Manual, and Paragraph 1735 of the second volume of the Myanmar Police Manual, the suspected soldier has to be transferred to Tatmadaw along with the description of the crimes he allegedly committed, and he shall be tried by Tatmadaw. Section 319 and 343 of the 2008 Constitution states that the Courts-Martial shall be constituted in accord with the Constitution and the other law and shall adjudicate Defence Services personnel and the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services is final and conclusive. The Defence Services Act 1959 has 237 provisions, and the Defence Services Rules has 236 rules. Section 291 of the current Constitution states that as Defence Services personnel who are also Civil Services personnel whose nature of work is of special significant, they shall be given by the relevant Military laws. The constitution also states that the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services is the Supreme Commander of all Armed Forces. I will explain how actions were taken in accordance with law in Inn Din case. It was also explained previously. There are four kinds of Courts-Martial, Summary Court-Martial, which is the lowest level, and District Court-Martial, Summary General Court-Martial and General Court-Martial which are higher in levels. Section 293 of 2008 Constitution also provides Courts-Martial. When Court-Martial convicted service personnel to prison sentences, service personnel can appeal to the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services regarding their punishment. When a soldier is imprisoned either in a civilian prison or other type of prison, he can present a petition to have his punishment commuted or receive pardon. The petition has to be presented to the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services. If that petition is dismissed,there is Court-Martial Appeal Court. And memorandum of appeal can be lodged to that court. In Inn Din case, service personnel presented Petition. They committed the crime while serving their State defence duties. And they have been convicted by Court-Martial. There were a lot of requests on the social media regarding the punishments. Many people from all walks of life requested their punishments bereconsidered as Tatmadawmen are the children of people and they committed them while they were serving State defence duties. Various factors need to be taken into consideration. There is a need to consider their loyal service in State defence. And disciplinary actions were also taken against them. Their punishments were reduced with various reasons being taken into consideration, and they were not commuted irresponsibly. There are Adjutant General Office and Judge Advocate General Office regarding military judicial system, establishing of Court-Martial, and administering justice. The Adjutant General Office handles jurisdiction, and the Judge Advocate General Office deals with legal aspects. All the officers at the Judge Advocate General Office are legal experts. Being legal experts, they scrutinize and review and give final advice in accordance with law. I would like to mention a significant example here. There were criticisms about Rakhine issue. The investigation team led by Lt-Gen Aye Win made field inspection and press release has been issued about the findings. Based on those findings, convicted by Court-Martial, and awarded punishment . The FFM and international agencies released reports that Tatmadaw investigation was not enough. In response, the Judge Advocate General Office advised to establish Court of Inquiry. Therefore, the Court of Inquiry led by Maj-Gen Myat Kyaw was established and is conducting investigation. And a legal advisory team led by Maj-Gen Thaung Naing, the deputy judge advocate general, was established to provide legal advices to the Court of Inquiry. There were criticisms that they did not properly inform the public about the investigation, but then the Court of Inquiry had had to check the data of hundreds of people. News about two rounds of investigation in Rakhine State has been published. We have to go this way if a Tatmadawman commits an offence. There are daily military disciplines and military laws that Tatmadawmen have to respect. If they are violated, Court of Inquiry has to be formed first. The Court of inquiry has to inquire about authen-ticity of a case, those involved, who is responsible for the crime,who is not responsible for the crime and the reason for committing the crime. Based on the findings by the Court of Inquiry, the offender has been tried by Court-Martial step by step. There are two departments in the military judicial affairs. They are Adjutant General Office and the Judge Advocate General Office. All tasks are being implemented with checks and balances in accord with the law and legal advices. Releasing prisoners one year after their imprisonment is just a rare case. It was not the crime that was committed in another country. At a time when the situation was confused following ARSA attacks, the punishment was commuted after considering inclusive situations. It is just a rare case. Normally, Tatmadawmen has no chance to get impunity for a crime they have committed. Regarding this, some have been removed from the Tatmadaw. Punishment reduct-ion is another thing. Our military judicial affairs are the same as those of most countries in the global community. Like us, the United States has military courts. They have three kinds of military courts. Studying other countries such as Britain, India and Pakistan, our Tatmadaw’s judicial system is in line with the international norms and standards.
Q: Reporter U Htet Naing Zaw from the Irrawaddy news agency question-ed how many officers and soldiers faced action in relation to the Rakhine issue.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said that pieces of news have been published and they should be studied. They were already told at the previous press conference. I would like you to understand the situation where it is difficult to identify them and tell the number for their personal reasons.
Q: RFA reporter Daw Aye Aye Mon expressed thanks for explaining human rights violations. The explanations came together with a lot of rules and standards. I would like to know more exactly about an event. In the past few months, Tatmadaw summoned many villagers for interrogation accusing them of having links with AA. The situation worsened when some of them fled in fear, leading to gun shots that killed six people. Regarding this, investigation is reportedly going on in accord with the rules and laws. I want to know more exactly about this.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said that what they can tell will be revealed. Like Inn Din case, it is not the case the RFA report has said alone. It is not also the case alone in Kyauktan Village. Deaths occurred when cases happened in Panmyaung Village in Minpya Township, Lakka Village in Myauk-U Township, Kyauktan Village in Yathedaung Township and near Waithali Pagoda in Mrauk-U Township. To expose the truth, the Court of Inquiry has been established in accord with Rule 176 of Defence Services Rules and investigation is going on starting from 12 July. The news about this was published in Myawady newspaper on 13 July. While investigation is going on, news about details cannot be publicized. When the process is completed, it will be publicized.
Q: RFA reporter Daw Aye Aye Mon continued to ask about the time.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi replied that time frame will depend on the investigation and findings of the Court of Inquiry.
Q: BBC reporter U Aung Thura said he was learnt from the news that actions were taken against the Northern Command commander and the commander of Light Infantry Division in Kachin State. I want to know investigation process for them.
A: Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said this case was also handled in the same way as mentioned above.
Q: BBC reporter U Aung Thura said some Rakhine State Hluttaw representatives raise concern over the situation in the state during election campaign period and election time. He asked the Tatmadaw when it expects to restore the status quo.
A: Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun said I want to say about ongoing situations in Rakhine State. Media frequently ask when monsoon cultivation time comes. They talk about a large number of people in IDP camps. It is better to ask for details. People in IDP camps want to grow rice. However, AA has forced people in villages out to IDP camps. Rakhine State Hluttaw representatives are concerned about stability in Rakhine State. I want to urge them to cooperate. I want to say about the Rakhine situation although we don’t want to make accusations. What are Hluttaw representatives saying? They talk to media and criticize. What they are saying about is peace and stability, isn’t it? We have to review whether what they have said is beneficial. Some remarks are extreme. Extremism in any matter will not contribute to peace and stability.No country can guarantee 100 percent security. But, Tatmadaw’s stance and attitude are always open to Rakhine State. That can be learnt in Tatmadaw statements. The statement issued on 21 December mentioned three organizations in its first paragraph. This is why we are always open to peace door. Peace and stability is possible in Rakhine State if all are to cooperate.
To be continued