Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Petty Officer Gil is not going quietly

Petty Officer Johnny Félix Gil Leniz is not going quietly. He has been held in preventive detention at Bolivian headquarters while various legal proceedings have been going on. The latest is a complaint filed on his behalf against the president  and two other judges of the military appellate court. Details appear in this article from Pagina Siete. Supporters are on a hunger strike.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keats conviction overturned by New Zealand Court Martial Appeal Court

Commodore Kevin Keat, RNZN
In a stunning development, the Court Martial Appeal Court of New Zealand has overturned the court-martial conviction of a Commodore who was convicted on charges growing out of an adulterous affair with a subordinate. Stuff.co.nz has this account from The Dominion Post:
[I]n a 71-page decision yesterday, Justice Jillian Mallon, on behalf of the appeal court, said [trial judge Chris] Hodson [QC] had failed to properly direct the three-person military panel at Keat's court martial on the issue of his state of mind, and had failed to properly summarise the defence case.
[Commodore Kevin] Keat's convictions were quashed as a result, but the appeal court was unable to say whether or not they would have been proven if the correct process had been followed.

July court-martial results for U.S. Navy

High legal theory and appellate jurisprudence are all well and good, but what is actually happening in courts-martial where the rubber meets the road? The U.S. Navy publishes monthly summaries of its court-martial results. It's of course a challenge to tease out any trends, but the summaries themselves make fascinating reading. Here's the one for July verdicts and sentences.

For want of prosecution!

Recruit training in the Canadian military
On August 13, 2014 the Canadian [French-speaking] media reported on the results of an interview aired the same day with James Robichaud who complained of having been assaulted in October 2009 by one of his instructors during recruit training. The assault  left him with a host of permanent physical injuries to his feet, ankles, Achilles tendons, calf muscles, both knees and left shoulder. Robichaud explained that the assault, which was thoroughly investigated by the military police, has yet to result in concrete action by the Director of Military Prosecutions which has failed to also keep him informed as to the reason(s) for such a long delay.

Robichaud detailed how he was subject to threats and a continuous stream of physical abuse.  He also noted that his several reports of physical and verbal abuse to the leadership cadre of the Recruit School were unheeded.  Discharged on medical grounds in April 2012, a military police investigation was only initiated after his counsel wrote to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff detailing the abuse and violence suffered by Robichaud and requesting a criminal investigation.  After gathering evidence from approximately 70 witnesses, in the Fall 2013 the Military Police recommended to the Director of Military Prosecutions that criminal charges be laid against the instructor. However, for reasons unknown, almost five years after the physical abuse, harassment and torment was inflicted on Robichaud, the Director Military Prosecution has yet to prefer the charges against the alleged offender so that he may be tried by court martial. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Military courts (including death penalty) are on the way in Donetsk

Global Military Justice Reform does not have a foreign policy, so it has no position on the current separatist movement in Ukraine. Nonetheless, this Newsweek article, concerning establishment of military courts in the Donetsk area falls within our subject matter. An excerpt from the article:
The government of the breakaway region of Donetsk in Ukraine announced that it will introduce the death penalty for serious crimes, including treason, after the first meeting of the separatist Council of Ministers today.
“A legislative act provides for the death penalty for the gravest crimes,” a press release on the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) official website read.
The meeting was intended to set the founding stones of the military court justice system of the new republic, which is not recognised by the Ukrainian government.
The Council agreed that military tribunals will be sanctioned to pass the death penalty for offences including treason, espionage, attempts on the lives of the leadership and sabotage, the Moscow Times reported. . . .