ICJ Staff Comments on Life Sentences for Illegal Logging in Myanmar

A Burmese court has sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment for illegal logging in Kachin State. Two others, who are minors, were both handed a 10-year sentence. The group was arrested earlier this year during a crackdown on illegal logging activities near the Chinese border. They were charged with misusing state property, a crime which carries a prison sentence of between ten years to life.

ICJ’s National Legal Adviser, U Kyawmin San, said that the the piece of legislation used to charge the Chinese loggers is most probably the 1963 socialist-era statute, loosely translated as the Common People’s Property Protection Act, as that includes life imprisonment. This statute, however, is extremely difficult to access online.

Vani Sathisan was quoted as saying the follows:

“Myanmar must ensure accountability, but it must do so in a fair and non-discriminatory manner in order to uphold the rule of law. While prosecution is an important step in tackling illegal logging, this must not shift the focus away from widespread corruption and the lack of transparency around resource extraction projects linked to crony companies which have ties to the military. These still hide the extent of the illegal logging problem in the country.”

For the full article, see here: https://www.dvb.no/news/china-lodges-protest-after-153-loggers-get-life-sentences/55095

Vani’s Blog is available here: https://lawhumanrightsbusinessmyanmar.wordpress.com

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