Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Charges and countercharges of UCI, excessive leniency in Azaria case

As predicted, lots of blowback to the 18-months-for-manslaughter sentence in the case of IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria. Here's a piece that contends Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon exercised unlawful command influence and argues that the charges should have been disposed of by the accused's commander as a disciplinary offense.

Haaretz took a very different tack in this editorial. Excerpt:
[T]he exceptionally lenient sentence handed down on Tuesday in the case of soldier Elor Azaria – 18 months in prison, plus a suspended sentence and a demotion in rank – represents a serious deviation from the norms expected of the legal system by the military court that heard the case. 
While the verdict, in which the court convicted Azaria of manslaughter, was constructed in exemplary fashion from the fundamental norms of the rule of law, Tuesday’s sentence looks like it was tailored as a kind of political compromise, and thereby stains the fundamental norms that guide the military justice system.
For another disturbing article, critical of the sentence, consider this one by Amira Hass, also for Haaretz.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sentence comparisons and the Azaria case

Haaretz has run this story by Gili Cohen contrasting the 18-month sentence awarded to Sgt. Elor Azaria for manslaughter with other IDF sentences. It's disturbing. Here's one in the series:
10. A soldier who attacked another soldier with kitchen knives and injured him lightly was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Bahrain legislators approve military trial of civilians

By a 31-1 vote, the lower house of the Bahraini legislature approved a measure that would permit the military trial of civilians. Details here.

Human rights jurisprudence strongly disfavors the use of military courts to try civilians.

18-month sentence in Azaria case

An Israeli court-martial has sentenced Sgt. Elor Azaria to 18 months' confinement in the shooting death of a wounded Palestinian. Some politicians have now called for him to be pardoned. There is certain to be significant blowback from the lenient sentence.

The Jerusalem Post reports:
Zionist Union Omer Barlev, a former head of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, called on his fellow politicians to respect the principle of separation of powers and refrain from heating tensions with declarations of calls to pardon Azaria.

Bridge for sale

Even though Global Military Justice Reform has sworn off reporting on every tick of the clock about whether and when Pakistan will revive the military courts that functioned for two years, we continue to monitor developments. Here's a fact that has been largely overlooked in the superficial and unimpressive "debate": the 21st Amendment, which permitted military courts to try civilians, expired on January 7, 2017. That was six weeks ago. Pakistan's legislators knew for two years that it would sunset according to its own terms. The purpose of the measure was to provide a stopgap in the wake of the December 2014 Army Public School massacre while civilian courts were buttressed/reformed/resourced so they could provide the timely, credible and effective administration of justice needed to deter further acts of violence. But funny thing: during those two years -- and now during the month-and-a-half since the sun set on the 21st Amendment, so far as we can tell, no steps whatever were taken to achieve that goal. The civilian courts seem to be functioning (or not) precisely as before. On this record, why should any legislator -- or voter -- believe that the necessary reforms will be instituted during the three years' worth of military courts that are currently proposed, when nothing whatever was even attempted during the preceding 25+ months? Anyone want to buy a bridge?