Wednesday, February 21, 2018

From the New Yorker

“I’m not oblivious. I know what [wearing Class B uniforms to court] says. What little respect you have for the commission is obvious. A short-sleeve shirt, no tie, no coat; I get it. That’s the message. That’s been the message from the defense for five months.”

Military judge (Col.) Vance Spath, at a hearing in the now-abated Nashiri military commission case, as quoted by Amy Davidson Sorkin here in The New Yorker

Not even one?

Air Force Magazine quoth:
A senior House Armed Services Committee Democrat has asked the Air Force to explain why it's never court martialed a general officer, accusing the service of having "different spanks for different ranks."

The request came from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, during a Feb. 7 hearing on senior leader misconduct. During the hearing, Speier said she had a problem with the fact that “there have been 70,000 courts-martial in the Air Force, for instance, and not one general officer has ever been court-martialed.”
The 70,000 figure is reported to be a Protect Our Defenders estimate; the zero figure is confirmed. The annual reports of the Code Committee that have been issued since the UCMJ went into effect in 1951 include data on the number of cases tried in each of the armed forces. For example, the first such report indicates (at p. 31) that the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force received 2822 records of trial in the year ending May 30, 1952.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Special prosecutor named to evaluate charges against Canada's chief military judge

Lt.-Col. Mark Poland
A reserve officer has been named special prosecutor in the case of Canada's chief military judge, Col. Mario Dutil. The Ottawa Citizen reports:
When conducting a post-charge review, prosecutors must conduct a two-stage analysis to determine whether or not to prefer a matter for trial by court martial, according to the Canadian Forces. [Lt.-Col. Mark] Poland, in this case, must first consider whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction should the matter proceed to trial by court martial, based on all of the evidence and the law, and second whether the public interest requires that a prosecution be pursued, the military noted in a news release.

For the purposes of military prosecutions, a special prosecutor is an officer of the Canadian Armed Forces who is a member of the bar of a province in good standing and who is not a member of the Legal Branch.

Poland is an Infantry Officer in the Reserve Force, currently serving as the Commanding Officer of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada in Cambridge, Ontario. In his civilian career he is the Crown Attorney of the Waterloo Region with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

Civilians convicted by Uganda court-martial

In Uganda, a civilian who uses a firearm in the commission of a crime is subject to trial by court-martial, as this latest case attests. The accuseds changed their pleas to guilty after having been held in pretrial confinement since 2016.

See also Egypt, Pakistan, Bahrain.

Egyptian military prosecutions upheld

Anadolu Agency reports that Egypt's highest military court has upheld the convictions of 91 civilians. There is no right to review in civilian court.

Human rights jurisprudence strongly disfavors the trial of civilians in military courts and requires access to civilian appellate courts.