|LtCol James W. Weirick, USMC (Ret)|
Prof. James Joyner
and LtCol James W. ("The") Weirick
, USMC (Ret) have posted another essay
on the civilianization of military justice. Responding to Maj Gen Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.
, USAF (Ret), they say in part:
The thrust of Dunlap’s argument centers on retaining the status quo because that is how we have always done it. While the military justice system has served the U.S. military well in the past and generally continues to do so, that does not render the system beyond improvement.
How many cases are we willing to sacrifice to maintain the commander-centric form of military justice? This is an argument of degrees. Our position remains that we have crossed into an intolerable category due results in recent sexual assault causes. The time has come for removing commanders from the most serious military offenses.
Comments welcome. (Real names only, please.)
I have been arguing for quite awhile that military tribunals - at least in Canada - are NOT designed to try criminal offences against the person such as sexual assault in the result that victims are denied fair justice in a military disciplinary court.ReplyDelete
Worse, in Canada, victims of crimes are protected by a recently enacted Charter of Rights for Victims of Crimes except those who are unfortunate to have such crimes investigated by the Military Police and/or prosecuted by the military justice system. These victims have to fend for themselves.
Earlier this week, a Court Martial tried an infantry lieutenant-colonel charged with two charges of sexual assault under the Criminal Code of Canada and two charges of sexual harassment under the Code of Service Discipline. The charges against Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Bernier stemmed from his misconduct that took place during a Regimental 100th Anniversary Gala Evening held in a civilian establishment in Quebec City. Bernier touched the buttocks and grabbed the waists of two female junior officers as they danced and socialized. At trial, he pled guilty to the Code of Discipline infractions and the sexual assault charges were dropped. He was sentenced to a Severe Reprimand and a $2,000 fine.
This begs the question as to why sexual assault cases are tried and sentenced as rather banal disciplinary offences?
Prior to the assault, Bernier was the Commander, 2nd Division Training Division whose responsibility is to train new recruits and teach them the ethics of the armed forces.
See link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/martin-bernier-sexual-assault-quebec-military-court-1.3262553