Monday, October 31, 2016

SANDF hampered by continuing lack of military judges

The South African National Defence Force continues to be shorthanded when it comes to military judges. According to this DefenceWeb account:
Defence Legal Services, the legal arm of the Department of Defence (DoD), did not have a particularly good 2015/16 year because of the non-appointment of military judges. 
According to the latest DoD annual report a total of 142 litigation cases were received by Defence Legal Services. 
“All these cases were attended to. Twenty-seven were finalised, 23 were settled in the best interests of the DoD and three were lost.” The report does not state what happened to the other 88 cases received. 
“This division was not in a position to perform to its full capacity to ensure the backlog of litigation cases were effectively attended to in the best interests of the DoD due to the non-appointment of military judges. The lack of military judges had a carry though effect on all other systems in the military justice system and compromised support for ‘zero tolerance’ on all forms of ill-discipline and abuse and abuse of power,” according to the report. 
The lack of military judges was pointed out by Sandu (the SA National Defence Union) is April last year with its national secretary Pikkie Greeff saying “the military court system has been brought to a grinding halt due to the fact that the required letters of appointment for military judges have not yet been signed by the DoD”.
He said at the time this ensured no military trials could either commence or continue until appointments were made and confirmed. 
In the preceding final year Defence Legal Services received 96 cases, attending to 83 with 23 litigation cases settled in favour of the DoD. 
There has, to date, been no announcement from either the DoD or the SANDF regarding the appointment of military judges.

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