Thursday, November 1, 2018

Ken Watkin writes in Just Security

Brig. Gen. (Ret) Kenneth Watkin has written an thought-provoking piece for Just Security on "accountability fatigue." His conclusion:
What is required is a balanced approach that recognizes both human rights law and IHL apply, and that the armed forces themselves have an important, indeed, essential oversight role to perform. It is a role that can be enhanced by taking steps to increase confidence, both within and outside the armed forces, regarding the independence of investigatory bodies. Other States have addressed issues of independence by creating a statutorily empowered uniformed Director of Military Prosecutions, setting up joint civilian/military inquiries, and even appointing foreign observers. As stated, the problem is not human rights law, it is the interpretation of that law in a manner that reflects the needs of all stakeholders operating in a very complex and challenging security environment. [Emphasis added.]
Some countries, notably including the United States, persist in having commanders "own and operate" the military justice system, including the critical charging/disposition power even for major offenses. Query: how important is it that a director of military or service prosecutions be a uniformed officer?

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