Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Should a military tribunal try a minor under the age of 18?

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports the case of a reservist who, after reporting being sexually assaulted by her fellow reservists in 2012, was charged under the Code of Service Discipline for "Disobeying a Lawful Command" prohibiting underage drinking. She was fined $300.00. [See section 83 of the National Defence Act - Disobedience of a lawful command].
CBC also reports that at the time, of the assault, Courtney Dunne was 16 years of age having been enrolled less than two weeks prior to the rape.

Leaving aside the obvious incongruence of the military charging the victim of a rape and not her alleged assailants, her trial raises another critical issue, namely the trial of minors by the Canadian military justice system. As a minimum, her trial appears to  be in contravention with the spirit of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child [ratified by Canada in 1991] which lists specific safeguards applicable to minors under the age of 18 on the basis of the age.

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