Local People Say Arakan Army’s Court of Justice Is 100 Times Better, Quicker, and Just Than the Government Courts in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Arakan Army officers are briefing laws and justice system to the villagers in Rakhine State 

AN. Sittway. June 19, 2020
Than Htay* is smiling when he enters into his house. He told his wife justice is done and he wins the land dispute case. 

Than Htay lives in Zardi* village in Ponnaygun township. He is a farmer and has five children, two daughters and three sons. His son is about to go and study in Japan but Covid-19 stops. His two daughters are helping the farm works in the village. They are over 20s now. 

He had a farmland dispute case against his elder brother in the government court in Ponnaygun town since 2018. He had to go to the court for every two months. He had spent a lot of money for transportations and paid for police investigators and the court click. But nothing had done for decision by the judge, but he felt exhausted. 

One day, one of his friends advised Than Htay to complain the case to Arakan Army. His friend said AA has an office in the jungle and about 8 miles away.

He agreed and packed all documents and went to the AA office along with his friend in early June 2020. 

He explained the AA officers what happened the land dispute with his elder brother and the government court case.

Two AA officers listened to the case carefully for about an hour. Then one of the officer wrote a letter by hand and stamped AA seal on it. The officer told him to give this letter to his elder brother and asked him to come back to the office within 3 days. 

Then Htay went back to the village and let his daughter handed over the AA letter to his elder brother on the same day. 

In earlier morning on June 15, he and his friend went to the AA office and reported to the AA officers they were arriving for the case. 

About one hour later, his elder brother U Kyaw Kyaw* arrived but they did not speak each other. 

Then AA officers called them to the bamboo makeshift office.

Then the officer started asking questions to the elder brother U Kyaw Kyaw. First the officer asked them to shack hands each other and said, “You are born from the same mother. You have the same blood of your father. You have to love and care each other. Hate is not amicable between your brothers.” 

The officer continued, “Here is our decision. You are elder brother and you need to help your young brother. He has five children to feed. Your father had already given this land to your younger brother before he passed away and asked you handed it over in appropriate time. This is appropriate time and you must give this land to your younger brother.” 

“From today, your brother Than Htay can do his work in the farm of 2 acres. You should remove all your tolls and machines from that land immediately,” the officer told U Kyaw Kyaw. 

Then the officer asked, “Do you have any question? If you don’t have question, go back to your village and live peacefully and love and help each other. If there is any complain and unfollow this agreement, either of you can come back to this office. 

Than Htay and U Kyaw Kyaw came back to the village with the AA court of justice decision on June 15. 

Since then they have lived peacefully, and younger brother Than Htay is doing his works in the farm in this monsoon season cultivation.

Other local people reported there are no thief and drug users in the villages after AA takes serious actions against petty crimes. 

AA courts of justice in many townships are busy with many cases and workloads after police and township administrators cannot perform their works due to their security concern.  

Arakan Army has urged all administrators and security forces to leave from the Rakhine State since May. 

Fifty eight village administrators resigned in Maybon township last month after three of their colleagues were arrested and charged with terrorist laws by the military. 

Hundreds of village administrators had resigned in Kyauktaw and Mrauk U townships last year after their co-administrators were put behind the bars for lengthy terms.

More administrators in Mibya and Rathedaung are considering to resign. 

A lawmaker from Rrathedaung township, who does not want to publish his name, told our news the military is real trouble makers of massive village administrator resignations in Rakhine State. 

He said, “There will be more village administrators resigning in the near future because the military does not respect and cooperate with the General Administration Office and Ministry of Government Office that oversight all administrators but the military arrests and charges the the administrators with harsh terrorist laws. The military must report and consult with the administration officer before they arrest. But the military is on their own and only works for their own interests. This is real problem.” 

Myanmar military is pushing Aung San Suu Kyi government to hand over power to the military to manage Rakhine State.

The army’s spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told the media last week AA would take over all administration works if the government measured effective administration. 

But the spokesperson of Government Minister Office in Naypaytaw told RFA Burmese service, there was no immediate need for military rule in Rakhine. 

In fact, local people enjoy Arakan Army justice systems and believe that the AA courts of justice are 100 times better than the government justice systems, perceiving the government judges are corrupt, slow, and unjust. 

Note: Names of the villager and village is changed for security concern. 

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