Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Taiwan parliament amends disciplinary punishments

As reported here, the Legislative Yuan has approved on third reading an important amendment to Taiwan's military discipline law. The effect is to enhance the human rights of military personnel:
The amended Act of Punishment of the Armed Forces scrapped the punishment of "reforming training" or reeducation and "confinement," and reduced the maximum number of days that officers and soldiers can receive the punishment of penitence from 30 days to 15 days. 
It also added "reduction in rank" and "demotion" to the kinds of punishments that can be imposed on ranking officers; "dismissal," "reduction in rank" and "disciplinary measures" to the punishments that can be slapped on non-commissioned officers; and "salary deduction" to those that can be carried out on soldiers.
The newly added "reduction in rank" punishment will deter crime and dereliction of duty because if a military officer's rank is reduced, so will his or her pension, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
Revisions to the Act were drafted after the death of 24-year-old Army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) on July 4, 2013. Hung died of heatstroke after being forced to do strenuous exercise in a confinement facility he should not have been in in the first place.
The article does not mention it, but Taiwan enacted sweeping military justice reform legislation in 2013 in exceptional haste due to widespread public outrage over Hung Chung-chiu's death. Jurisdiction over military crimes was transferred to the civilian courts.

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