Remarks by Ms. Aler Grubbs, USAID Mission Director for Union Attorney General’s Office announcement of the expanded pilot Law Office Program

Remarks as prepared for Ms. Aler Grubbs, USAID Mission Director for Union Attorney General’s Office announcement of the expanded pilot Law Office Program

Virtual event, October 21, 2020  10:00 am

Today the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, joins with the Union Attorney General’s Office in announcing a major commitment to strengthening the rule of law for the people of Myanmar.  The Union Attorney General’s Office announcement to expand the Pilot Law Office Program by adding 10 additional law offices will more than double the number of law offices adopting modern, internationally accepted prosecution procedures. This builds on the successful experience of the original eight pilot law offices that began in late 2016.

These ten additional law offices will use technology to improve case management, record keeping, reporting, and transparency. They will also follow standardized guidelines to facilitate more effective prosecutions — particularly important for trafficking in persons cases so as to prevent re-traumatizing survivors.  These guidelines include, for example, the conduct of pretrial interviews with victims and witnesses in appropriate cases and treatment of these victims and witnesses with respect and dignity, which is important to building community trust and support. As part of this program, the UAGO will establish a victim-witness coordinator function in each of the 10 law offices to facilitate outreach. Improved interaction with the police will result in better case preparation and presentation at trial by the law officers assigned to prosecute the cases in court. Combating human trafficking is a world-wide effort and each country must make its best effort to eliminate trafficking, prosecute offenders, and support survivors.   

The Union Attorney General’s Office has charted a path to nation-wide adoption of these procedures in all law offices throughout the Union as part of its strategic plan, which will complement the trafficking in persons, or TIP, coordinator function established in each law office last February. The adoption and use of the Fair Trial standards and the Law Officers Code of Ethics nation-wide represents a commitment to holding law officers to the highest standards of professionalism.  USAID, the U.S. Embassy, and the people of the United States are proud to be a partner in those efforts.   

Today marks an important milestone in strengthening the justice sector in Myanmar.  Adoption of modern, international practices supports justice for all people in Myanmar.  At USAID, we look forward to continuing this partnership to strengthen the capacity of law offices throughout Myanmar as part of our on-going commitment to promote the rule of law.