Myanmar: IBAHRI raises concerns about sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi

Sunday 11 September 2022

Given the age and health disorders of Myanmar’s ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the harshness of the recent three-year jail sentence with ‘labour’ or ‘hard labour’ handed to her for purported election fraud in Myanmar’s 2020 polls is of particular concern to the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). This extra prison term and the previous sentences are all condemned by the IBAHRI.

Myanmar’s stratocracy intends to bring further charges against Suu Kyi. These could lead to an increase in her sentence. The current combined sentences see her imprisoned for 20 years, effectively removing her from Myanmar’s political landscape. This two-decades prison term imposed by the country’s junta after ‘trials’ held by closed-doors military tribunals comes as an IBAHRI report examines how the right to a fair trial is being denied in Myanmar.

TitledCrackdown on Human Rights Defenders, Opposition, and the Right to a Fair Trial in Myanmarthe report highlights that since the coup d’état on 1 February 2021, the transfer of all judicial, legislative and executive powers to the military has severely undermined the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law in Myanmar. As the right to a fair trial has been denied to Suu Kyi, the verdicts and sentences must be treated as suspect.

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, Director of the IBAHRI, commented: ‘The treatment of Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi is appalling. She has been subjected to processes which in no way conform to fair trial or due process. Now she is sentenced to additional jail time with hard labour. The international community must stand in solidarity, demand the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders and hold to account those responsible for violating the rule of law and numerous rights of the people of Myanmar.’

Anne Ramberg Dr Jur hc, IBAHRI Co-Chair and Immediate Past Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, said: ‘Since the military coup in February 2021, there has been a severe crackdown on human rights defenders and the opposition. With so many of Myanmar’s’ dissidents killed, and elected officials detained, the junta’s pretence of simply contesting the election results and intending to hold ‘‘free and fair’’ elections cannot be viewed as anything but a charade. What is clear is that the military junta is, under the pretext of her having broken the ‘law’, seeking to make an example of Aung San Suu Kyi, a symbol of democracy.’ 

Mark Stephens CBE, Co-Chair of the IBAHRI stated: ‘The world is closely following the ''trials'' and treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi, and is appalled by how, once again, men with guns unwilling to give up power will enforce their will on a populace that only seeks to choose its leaders by casting a vote. The barrel of a gun strips Myanmar’s citizens not only of this right, but, as has been too often seen, their right to peaceful protest and ultimately in many cases the right to life. With charge upon charge piling-up against Aung San Suu Kyi, the world is witnessing yet more rights violations by people who know that they cannot govern Myanmar without brute force. With the military acting as judge and jury the right to a fair trial and the loss of liberty are obvious casualties.’ 


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to download a PDF of the report Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders, Opposition, and the Right to a Fair Trial in Myanmar.
  2. Related material:
  3. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous and financially independent entity, working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  4. Find the IBAHRI (@IBAHRI) on social media here:
  5. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.
  6. Find the IBA(@IBAnews) on social media here: