Prompted by the Associated Press's recent investigative report on transparency in military justice, the editorial board of Hearst Newspapers' San Antonio Express-News has published this editorial on military justice. Excerpt:
The military touts its justice system as just as effective — if not more — than its civilian counterpart. But when it comes to what is public, that is demonstrably untrue.
Civilian court records are often just a keyword search and a click away. AP filed 17 separate FOIA requests for documents from more than 200 military sexual assault cases ending with conviction. By the time it published its article, the branches had provided complete trial records for five cases and partial records for 70.
This is the opposite of public. And it’s not as if the trials themselves are public. While military trials are ostensibly open — like civilian trials — they take place on military bases that restrict public access, the AP said.
Congress should revisit how the military treats sex crimes altogether — there’s still more work to be done. This includes removing commanders from the decision making in who and when to prosecute.Emphasis added.