Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bots R Us

It's Bot City this morning here in the glass-enclosed newsroom high above Global Military Justice Reform Plaza: 135 hits from Malaysia in the last two hours.

Beaudry fallout

The government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to stay the recent decision of the Court Martial Appeal Court in the Beaudry case. The motion remains under consideration, but in the meantime charges in two cases have been withdrawn from the court-martial without prejudice. David Pugliese reports on the matter here for the Ottawa Citizen. No word on the other 38 cases that the government says could be affected by Beaudry.

The charge in one of the two dropped cases dates to 1999.

Old misattributions die hard

He didn't say it.
Writing in Brighter Kashmir, Nilesh Kunwar observes:
Military courts were created in Pakistan after the Peshawar Army Public School (APS) terror attack for speedy trail of terror suspects. Since January 2015, these courts have convicted 346 people, awarding death sentence to 196 and imprisonment to 150 persons. Only one person has been acquitted. An ironical twist clearly reveals the motivated approach of military courts. With no other evidence except [Kulbhushan] Jadhav’s confession, a Pakistani military court took only 14 months to sentence him to death. But Jamaatul Ahrar and (JuA) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan who has already accepted responsibility for numerous terror strikes including the Peshawar APS attack that killed 144 students and has been in Pakistan army’s custody since April 2017, hasn’t even been charge-sheeted as yet! 
After seeing the slipshod way in which military courts are functioning in Pakistan, even the most die-hard Pakistan army fans will start agreeing with Groucho Marx’s view* that “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music!”
* Nope. It was Georges Clémenceau. The author must have missed this 2015 post. (Footnote added.)

Russian military court reorganization

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved legislation that reorganizes and renames the country's military courts. The Russian Legal Information Agency has the story here. The legislation was enacted in order to comply with an earlier constitutional law.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remilitarization and military justice

Professors Andrew G. Reiter (Mt. Holyoke) and Brett J. Kyle (University of Nebraska--Omaha) have a timely and important essay on the Jacobin website titled Latin America's Re-Militarization. They conclude:
To stem the tide of legal empowerment of the military and reverse these recent setbacks, human rights activists will need to be increasingly vigilant and work to supplant the security narrative that has dominated recent elections in countries such as Guatemala and Honduras, and led to the rise of populist leaders on the right. A wave of leftist politicians rose to power in the past by promising redistribution of wealth and anti-poverty plans — the policies necessary to address the underlying causes of the recent rise in crime. The recent election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, who ran on an “Abrazos, no balazos” (hugs, not gunfire) platform perhaps is a welcome sign.

Most importantly, this will be a major test for the civilian judiciary in the region. Judicial reform has been at the forefront of domestic NGO work and international donors over the past three decades. It will largely be for naught if civilian courts cannot retain jurisdiction over the worst human rights abuses committed by the armed forces.

Constitutional and supreme courts will have to rule on these laws, possibly being put in the position of having to make judgments that go against the wishes of politicians, the military, and even popular opinion. Success will also depend on the Inter-American Court continuing to be the last safeguard for democracy in the region, providing domestic courts with legal rulings to reinforce their positions.