In a society governed by the rule of law, ordinary people must enjoy the protection of their rights under the law, according to a paper published by the World Justice Project. Moreover, injustices they are facing must be addressed in a peaceful way by judicial bodies. In a society with a sound judicial system, government, political parties and influential people prevent the rights of ordinary people from being violated, the paper says.
How can we measure the strength of the rule of law in Myanmar? According to official data, the country had seen a rising number of criminal cases from 2012 to 2014, with record numbers of thefts and murders. In 2014 alone, there were 1,333 murders, 5,229 thefts, 741 rapes and 14,798 road accidents.
These days, the numbers of robberies and murders are increasing, and many of the new murders have been committed in extraordinarily cruel ways. This rise in cruelty is perplexing.
Some criminology experts have found connections between offenders’ psychological problems and their environments. Such psychological problems can lead to cruel killings. Some offenders were found to have been addicted to drugs. In some cases, accumulating hatred, depression and dissatisfaction also lead to cruel killings.
The most interesting recent murder cases are the killing of a 57-year-old medical doctor in Thaketa Township on December 29 last year and a 70-year-old woman in Mingalar Taungnyunt Township in Yangon on January 5 this year.
The doctor was found dead in his bedroom with his safe left open. In the second case, the woman was found dead with her hands tied and a cloth in her mouth.
Some critics blame ex-convicts who have been released under presidential amnesties while they were serving prison terms for previous murders or thefts.
The authorities have expressed their commitment to the rule of law, saying they are keeping a watchful eye ex-convicts in an effort to protect other citizens.
According to the World Justice Project’s the Rule of Law Index 2014, Myanmar is ranked 14th out of the 15 regional countries and 89th out of 99 countries worldwide where the project’s survey was conducted. Rule of law still has a long way to go before it can be trusted to protect the people of Myanmar.
Anyhow, the Daily Eleven calls for heightened awareness as murders and thefts continue to increase under the new government.