Friday, July 22, 2016

CF Court Martial Comprehensive Review

This just in from the Canadian Forces:
Dear Colleagues, 
On behalf of the Canadian Forces' Deputy Judge Advocate General for Military Justice, Colonel Rob Holman, I am pleased to have the opportunity to alert you to two news items that may be of interest to you. 
First, I am happy to advise you that the Judge Advocate General's Annual Report on the Administration of Military Justice in the Canadian Forces for the 2015-2016 reporting year is now available online at the following link: .
This report provides an overview of what was a very busy year in the Canadian military justice world, and also includes a thematic chapter on the topic of "Superintendence and Regular Reviews of the Administration of Military Justice" - which leads me to the second item news item that may be of interest to you. 
As described in Chapter 2 of the above-mentioned Annual Report, the Judge Advocate General (JAG), Major-General Blaise Cathcart, has launched a proactive comprehensive review of the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) court martial system. This comprehensive review represents an integral means through which the JAG can fulfill his responsibilities under the National Defence Act (NDA), for superintendence, and for the conduct of regular reviews of the administration of military justice. The purpose of the review is to conduct a legal and legal policy analysis of the CAF's court martial system, and develop and analyze options to enhance its effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy. 
Over the course of the next year, the Office of the JAG team leading the review will engage in consultations with people from across Canada and internationally. These consultations will offer an opportunity for groups such as the Canadian public, foreign subject matter experts, other government departments, and members of the CAF, to engage with military justice issues and to provide input into the review of the court martial system. We anticipate that public and subject matter expert consultations will begin during the fall of 2016, and that more details about the types of input that the Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team (CMCRT) is most interested in receiving, and the methods for communicating such input, will be provided over the upcoming months.
A copy of the Terms of Reference for the Court Martial Comprehensive Review can be found at the following link:
We hope that you will take interest in these news items, and that, in due course, you will share any of your well-informed views with the CMCRT as to how Canada's court martial system might evolve in ways that will allow the system to continue to meet the needs of the CAF and the Government of Canada. 
Lieutenant-Commander / Capitaine de corvette Mike Madden, CD, B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Office of the Judge Advocate General / Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team
Department of National Defence / Government of Canada
Experience with the DoD Military Justice Review Group process suggests two steps Canada could usefully take as part of the effort described above. First, have a state-of-the-art website that is comprehensive, current, and well-tended. Second, disseminate to the public -- via the website -- contributions from third parties. The website can be a force multiplier for fostering the kind of robust, intelligent discussion CF clearly seeks.

While the Editor is offering suggestions, maybe the [U.S.] Code Committee on Military Justice could spiff up its annual report. The Canadians' classy reports are way ahead of the U.S.'s comparable documents! 

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