Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is military law appealing?

Andrew Otchie
The Summer 2014 issue of the Criminal Bar Quarterly includes this article, Is Military Law Appealing?, by barrister Andrew Otchie, a member of the Association of Military Court Advocates. His conclusion:
Situation ethics can be complicated further when friend, or foe, is mortally injured and mercy killing is contemplated. But as the law currently stands, there are no special exemptions for offences committed by Soldiers acting in the heat of battle and the military justice system imposes the same principles of law upon our Soldiers, as would a Crown Court in any other part of the land. As well, the Law of Armed Conflict and International Human Rights Law continue to bind the British Armed Forces, as does now the [European Court of Human Rights]. This provides a strong basis upon which British military can claim their actions are moral and can deserve our support. At the same time, the British public has a right to expect its Soldiers to behave in a certain way. The wide spectrum and types of military operations that have been carried out in recent years makes the work of the Court Martial and military lawyers increasingly specialised. So, when the role of the lawyer is to bring some form of order to the chaos that ensues in war, it is often the Soldier that has donned a military uniform, with the noble ambition to try to bring the rule of law to those not fortunate enough to enjoy it – both need each other more than they may think.

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