Thursday, November 26, 2015

Closed military trial in Algeria produces 5-year sentence

"General Hassan" was sentenced today to five years in prison following a close military court trial. He had previously served as Algeria's chief of counter-terrorism. The charges against him were disobedience and destruction of document. Details of the case appear here.

Forthcoming reform of Chinese military courts

On the evening of November 26, Chinese official media (and the South China Morning Post) reported that Xi Jinping, Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, announced the long-expected reforms to the Chinese military at the conclusion of the Central Military Commission Work Conference.  As regular readers of this blog would know (see these earlier articles, for example), reform of the military justice system is on the agenda. The reforms call for reorganizing the military courts (and procuratorates) based on their location (the reforms call for the establish of strategic zones and joint operation command systems, to replace China's current fragmented system) to enable them to operate with more autonomy and bolster their prestige or, as the Ministry of Defense report states, "to ensure independent and impartial exercise of their functions and powers according to law." The PLA's legal function is also slated for reform. Details will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

A big milestone

Global Military Justice Reform has hit another big milestone: as of a moment ago, we have had 200,000 hits. Interest in the subject seems to be growing around the world. Since our launch in January 2014, the blog has had 2156 posts (1003 so far in 2015) and 323 comments, and has been visited by readers in 161 jurisdictions.

Thanks to everyone -- contributors, commenters and readers -- who has made this possible. Please keep your posts and comments coming! (Remember, real names only.)

Naming & shaming

Rembert Bloom, formerly of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has this timely American Society of International Law Insight report on Impunity of Military Peacekeepers: Will the UN Start Naming and Shaming Troop Contributing Countries? His conclusion:
The Secretary-General’s proposal to ensure criminal accountability of military members through a naming and shaming policy, under which unconditional exclusive criminal jurisdiction of TCCs [Troop Contributing Countries] is preserved, seems relatively accommodating to TCCs, especially compared to a measure such as complementary local criminal jurisdiction as provided for under the UNTAG SOFA. However, in view of the C-34’s past resistance to accountability measures, it cannot be readily assumed that it will consider a naming and shaming policy an acceptable compromise.
Peacekeeper discipline is certainly one of 2015's biggest military justice stories. As the year wraps up, what others come to mind?