Thursday, August 15, 2013

Report of the Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones

The Defense Legal Policy Board has released a report dated May 30, 2013 which addresses both best practices and areas for improvement regarding "military justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan." The Secretary of Defense's questions explored by the committee were:
  1. The manner in which such alleged offenses are initially reported and investigated; are there ways to ensure that alleged offenses are reported and investigated promptly, thoroughly, and accurately? Are there ways to improve cooperation with local law enforcement and local communities?
  2. The command level at which the initial and final disposition authority now resides in such cases; is it at the right levels, or should the disposition authority be withheld to a different level?
  3. In joint, deployed areas, should military justice be pursued within the joint force, utilizing joint resources, rather than having cases handled separately and within each component service?
  4. In deployed areas, are resources adequate for the investigation of offenses and the administration of military justice?
  5. Should the system of military justice be revised in some manner to improve the way in which cases involving multiple defendants are handled? In cases involving multiple defendants, should the system be revised in some manner to better secure the testimony and cooperation of those involved in the offense? Are there lessons to be learned from the civilian system?
  6. Does the military justice system in deployed areas fully preserve the rights of the accused, while also respecting the rights and needs of victims and witnesses?

To read the Report of the Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones access: