Sunday, June 18, 2017

Judicial independence in Spanish military courts

The General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in Spain annulled an order issued by the Central Military Tribunal calling on military judges to advise their commanders about on-going investigations. Last February the Central Military Tribunal approved an order, which was not limited to setting forth work hours or attention to the public, but included instructions to the judges as to how they should carry out their investigations.  It required these judges to go to the military installations where the death of a member of the military occurred, or any other serious act, which might have appeared to have been a military offense, even if in the final analysis it was not.

The most grievous part of the order was that it instructed the judges to contact "the chief of the unit in charge of the military place where the offense occurred" once they learned of the act.  They had to inform the commander of the unit of the existence of a judicial investigation, even if it was declared secret, before knowing whether the commander was implicated in the possible offense.

This order was criticized because it appeared to be an "interference" in the work of the military judges, whom it converted into mere "subordinates" of the commander, placing at risk the independence of their investigations.

The CGPJ did not issue an opinion about the hypothetical disciplinary responsibility of the members of the Central Military Tribunal, but it annulled the order because it considered it issued by an "organ manifestly incompetent" to have done so.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).