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After elections in 2010 and the formation of a new civilian government, Myanmar’s military regime embarked upon an unprecedented road towards political reform. In 2011 President Thein Sein described this as his country initiating democratic transition. Part of the democratic transition was intended to involve Myanmar’s politicised law and justice institutions. This in turn prompted international actors to arrive in significant numbers, with the aim of promoting the rule of law in an attempt to instil political and legal change.
Through this rule of law promotion, global actors advocate projects of institution building, law making, and regulatory reform to produce a globally conformed, often normative, ideal of rule of law. Projects and programmes with a rule of law “component” are carried out in the name of economic development, peace building, human rights promotion, governance reform, or democratisation in today’s international development assistance to Myanmar.
At the same time, rule of law promotion is an intervention into a dynamic system with its own hidden power struggles and complexities that causes conflict in values, norms, knowledge and identity. What is often forgotten is that it is through individuals rule of law promotion ciphers and that these individuals may shape what happens with the rule of law through acts of mediation, translation, or brokerage. They perform the delicate and intricate task of relating globally oriented ideas to the Myanmar locale in an intermediary position.
Kristina Simion’s thesis explores rule of law promotion in Myanmar as it tries to understand how intermediaries shape rule of law promotion and its effects. In this PhD Mid-term Seminar, Kristina will outline her research project, and share her preliminary findings.
Prior to commencing her PhD at RegNet in 2013, Kristina worked as a Rule of Law Officer at the Swedish Agency for Peace, Security and Development, the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). In her role she was involved in various research projects on rule of law development and assistance. Kristina is also a research coordinator for the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law and a research assistant at the Australian National University. View her RegNet profile for more detail.