Max Planck Experts Taught a Fair Trials Training Session in Myanmar in November 2013

Members of the Max Planck Foundation in collaboration with IDLO taught an interactive training session for prosecutors at the Union Attorney General’s Office (UAGO) in NayPiyTaw, Myanmar in a UNDP funded training project

The training session was organised as a part of a larger training of the trainers (TOT) pilot programme. The Max Planck team bridged the TOT session by running a one-week energetic fair trials training session that incorporated modern training methodologies and directed several selected Myanmar trainers in conducting fair trial training and ICCPR standards.

The Attorney General of the Union Law was promulgated subsequent to the passing of the Myanmar’s Constitution in 2008. The UAGO carries out its duties through four different departments, the administrative, prosecution, legal advice and legislative vetting and advising departments through district and townships. The 34 law officers that were invited by the UAGO to attend this one-week training came from more than nine different district and township offices of Myanmar to participate in this vibrant, hands-on training session.

Though Myanmar is not a signatory to the ICCPR, this did not in any way diminish the enthusiasm and desire of the participants to learn more about these international standards and the role of prosecutors under international law. The training was conducted in two parts, morning lectures and review of Myanmar provisions relevant to ICCPR was followed by highly interactive afternoon case analyses. The participants remained involved in all discussions and did not shy away from expressing their position whether it meant clarifying the understanding of Myanmar criminal procedure relevant to ICCPR or engaging in discussions about how current practices could change to comply with ICCPR.

The Max Planck experts focused on the basic understanding of international fair trial standards and worked closely with the participants to determine the Myanmar provisions on the same issue. The discussions on questions of relevance of ICCPR and Myanmar criminal law raised heated but constructive debates. Additionally, working directly with twelve trainers who had gone through a one-week training method course prior to the arrival of the Max Planck experts, the team organised a mock trial, which was carried out by the participants on the last day of the training.

The Max Planck fair trial training was the first of its kind to be carried out at the UAGO in Myanmar. As a result of this training the Max Planck team has developed a manual based on ICCPR standards and Myanmar law. This manual has been printed for use by the UAGO staff and officers.