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Global Spotlight on Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in Myanmar within the ASEAN Context

William H. Gates Hall
3:30 PM - 5:20 PM

“Constitutional Rush to the Rule of Law in Myanmar: The 2008 Constitution and the Design of a Constitutionality Review Mechanism within the Regional Context”

Dr. Teilee Kuong, Associate Professor, Nagoya University Center for Asian Legal Exchange, Japan

Hosted by the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, Asian Law Center and UW Law Global Affairs

Teilee Kuong (Ph.D.) is a Cambodian national, and currently an Associate Professor at Nagoya University Center for Asian Legal Exchange in Japan. His current research focuses on legal development in Cambodia and Vietnam, particularly in the areas of Constitutional and Property Law, development of the judicial institutions and influences of foreign law in the Cambodian context. He is also a visiting associate professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tokyo, teaching a course on human security and peace-building in the Indochinese and ASEAN context. Before coming to Japan as a graduate student at Nagoya University in 1997, he worked in Cambodia as a human rights assistant at the legal assistance unit of the Cambodia Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He had also worked at the Information/Education Division of the UNTAC during Cambodia’s 1993 transition to democracy.

This talk presents some preliminary findings of the first stage of a three-year research conducted by the speaker and a number of Japanese scholars into Myanmar’s constitutional turn to democracy and the rule of law since 2008. The focus is particularly on the 2008 Constitution of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar and the subsequent efforts to set up the Constitutional Tribunal and put into work a unique system of constitutionality review. The presentation will touch upon the following three sub-topics: (1) The nature of constitutional reform in 2008; (2) the characteristics of the Constitutional Tribunal created under the 2008 Constitution; and, (3) Promising development of the democratic game and some ongoing challenges to the current process of constitutionalizing the rule of law in Myanmar. Particularly with regard to the second sub-topic on the characteristics of the Constitutional Tribunal, the speaker will also compare the Myanmar Constitutional Tribunal to the Constitutional Council of Cambodia and constitutionality review bodies in other Southeast Asian countries. The third sub-topic will be discussed based on the speaker’s personal analyses of the Myanmar situation, comparing that to its neighboring countries and reflecting on some latest theoretical debates on the relationship between democracy and constitutionality review particularly in the context of Southeast Asia.