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Suu Kyi says an independent judiciary key to democracy

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut -- Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her country cannot be called a genuine democracy until it has an independent judiciary, even though it is undergoing a stream of breathtaking political and economic reforms.

Suu Kyi, whose struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar earned her a Nobel Peace Prize, spoke at Harvard and Yale University on Thursday as part of her landmark U.S. visit this month. Her Ivy League speeches came on the day Myanmar President Thein Sein paid tribute to her during a U.N. General Assembly speech that reflected the momentous changes in the country, also called Burma, over the past year.

“Once we can say that we have been able to re-establish rule of law, then we can say that the process of democratization has succeeded,” Suu Kyi said at Yale. “Until that point I do not think that we can say that the process of democratization has succeeded.”

She said the judiciary is “practically nonexistent.”

“And until we have a strong, independent, clean judiciary, we cannot say that Burma is truly on the road to democracy,” Suu Kyi said.

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