Army chief defends military’s role, constitution

Army chief defends military’s role, constitution

During the 67th anniversary of Burma’s Armed Forces Day, the country’s military head Min Aung Hlaing sought to assure his audience that the army are beholden to both military and civil laws.

“The Tatmadaw men have to abide not only by the Military Acts, but also the Civil Acts assigned by the Government just as civilians do,” said the commander during state celebrations in Naypyidaw.

Min Aung Hlaing went on to say that country’s military would “abide and safeguard the National Constitution”.

However, rights groups claim that Burmese military personnel cannot be tried and sentenced to prison terms under civilian law.

“The [commander in chief] today also emphasised that the [military] has to follow the leadership [selected] by the people,” said National League for Democracy’s deputy leader and former military commander Tin Oo.

“That means [they must] follow all civilian laws and [understand] that just because an individual is a member of the Tatmadaw does not mean that they do not need to obey the law.”

According to Voice of America, the general also defended the country’s controversial constitution and supported the mandate that guarantees that the military holds 25 percent of the parliament’s seats.

In a statement released by the 88 Generation Students on Tuesday, the group urged state officials to avoid abusing power, while embracing their roles as “public servants”.

The holiday, formerly known as “Resistance Day”, celebrates the uprising that overthrew Japanese occupation in 1945.

While the Armed Forces Day celebrations last year lacked a parade, on Tuesday more than 13,000 soldiers marched through the capital.

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