Friday, October 9, 2015

A soldier's inviolable domain

The Military Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court held in a recent judgment  that the bedrooms of soldiers are their domicile and are inviolable even if they are found in the interior of a military base, into which no one may enter without consent or a judicial order, except in delito flagrante.  On April 22, 2014 a commander, on the order of a general, carried out a search with dogs, looking for drugs on the premises of the barracks of the Artillery Academy.

Although the corporal, the plaintiff, was not present, his bedroom was searched, since a female soldier who had the keys to all the rooms, opened the doors of the bedrooms and at least two dogs entered.  The commanders, the defendants, justified their position alleging that it was all in error, since they did not know that the corporal was not there, but the tribunal pointed out that they did not make an effort to find out whether he was there or not and that if the order had been to carry out the search without his consent or judicial authorization this "would not only have been illegal but also criminal.." Only in a trial could it be determined whether there was intent or not.

The novelty of this case is that it underlines the seriousness of a practice which until now has been widespread: that of generalized searches of soldier's bedrooms in military barracks.

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