Saturday, February 29, 2020

A query for non-US readers

Last December, President Donald J. Trump signed into law a bill that, among many other things, directs the Secretary of Defense to prepare a report on a proposal for an alternative system for serious offenses by military personnel. Under that alternative system, a senior uniformed lawyer (colonel/naval captain or above) outside the accused's chain of command, rather than a nonlawyer commander, would decide whether to prosecute offenses for which the maximum punishment is more than one year's confinement. The study must include comparative information regarding the military justice systems of "relevant foreign allies" of the United States.

For foreign readers: who in your country decides whether to prosecute offenses by military personnel that are punishable by more than a year in prison? Please respond directly to the Editor or by comment on this post, preferably with citations or links to pertinent statutes or regulations. Many thanks.


  1. Interesting that the President has directed that the study include the practices of allied nations. I have only begun to dip my toes into U.S. military law, but didn't the Supreme Court show a notable lack of interest in foreign military law in Solorio?

    1. If by "notable" you mean "utter," the answer is Yes.

  2. Under the Indian Army Act, 1950 and Army Rules, 1954, the Commanding Officer must hear a charge against a military accused and take cognizance in the matter. In case the charge cannot be tried by him due to the rank of the accused or seriousness of offence (which he cannot try), he has to forward the case to higher military authority in the chain of command to take decision. Army Rules 22 and 24 refer.
    U. C. Jha

  3. In México, when a military person commits a misconduct considered of certain relevance (such as mistreatment of cadets or subordinates, drugs abuse, corruption, among many others), Commander summons a five senior officers council (none of them are lawyers) to review the case, the accusation, the evidence and the defense, performing as a court martial and only when the case can be subject to punishments from 16 days of prison confinement to dishonorable discharge (Reglamento de los Consejos de Honor del Ejército y Reglamento de la Junta de Almirantes y Consejos de Honor Superior y Ordinario de la Armada). But, if the offense is considered to be punish further up (prison from 16 days up to 60 traes) the case is submmited to a military prosecutor (Attorney General of the Army) to expose the case to military judge (all of them are lawyers, according to The Código de Justicia Militar y Código Militar de Procedimientos Penales. The military justice in México is subject to final revision by a constitutional court (civilian federal magistrales) as a last instance to secure the due process and human rights were observed during military trial. (Articles 103 and 107 of the Constitución and Ley de Amparo). Roberto Rafael Rodríguez.


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