Thursday, December 6, 2018

New from the Geneva Centre

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) has published Understanding Military Justice: A Practice Note (2018) by Mindia Vashakmadze. This excellent Practice Note is a product of the Security Sector Reform Working Group of the Partnership for Peace Consortium. The following excerpt explains the purpose:
Legislating for the security sector is a complex and difficult task. For this reason, many lawmakers are tempted to copy legislation from other countries. This expedites the drafting process, especially when texts are available in the language of the lawmaker. However, it frequently results in poor legislation. Even after being amended, the copied laws are often out of date before coming into effect. They may no longer be in line with international standards, and may not fully respond to the requirements of local context or legal order. 
In Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), the public debate on the security sector has been ongoing since the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, in many states within this region, the creation of a sound legal framework for the effective operation of security sector agencies, including justice institutions, remains a challenge. It is crucial to ensure that such a legal framework is based on international legal standards, as well as lessons learned from comparative experience. 
The motivation for this Practice Note came from practitioners involved in reform processes across the region who seek guiding principles and comparative analyses of legal models in various areas, including the judiciary. There is growing support within domestic legal systems of these countries for increased judicial accountability of the armed forces (and other security sector agencies). Military justice is an important tool to ensure such accountability.

This practice note is primarily addressed to those who intend to draft new military justice legislation or amend existing laws. This includes parliamentarians, civil servants, legal experts and nongovernmental organisations. The note may also be helpful for security officials. Additionally, it may serve as a reference tool for researchers and students interested in security sector legislation. 
The analysis here in is largely based on international standards and comparative experience and provides easy access to international norms as well as examples of legislation from the region and beyond.

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