Saturday, May 26, 2018

Court-martial appellant dies, widow is substituted

The widow of a Nigerian brigadier general who died after having been convicted by a court-martial has been permitted to continue the appeal in her own name. The Supreme Court's reason: she stands to lose a fortune as a result of forfeiture of property ordered by the court-martial. Details here.

Justice has ground on slowly in this case:

Trial ended: Sept. 30, 2005
Notice of appeal filed: May 22, 2009
Death of the accused: Oct. 22, 2014
Widow's application to substitute: Apr. 27, 2015
Supreme Court grants application: May 25, 2018

Free speech and retired officers -- a case from Pakistan

Did a retired general officer violate Pakistan's code of conduct? Here is a first report, but one must assume there will be more about this case.

Dissent by retirees has from time to time caused government officials to crack down by using the military justice system. Cases from Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, for example, come to mind . . .

Human rights jurisprudence disfavors the exercise of military jurisdiction over civilians. Are retirees who are deeply unlikely to ever be recalled for duty civilians for this purpose? The U.S. claims and on rare occasions exercises military jurisdiction over retirees.

Memorial Day 2018

Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, Leesburg, Virginia

The matter does not appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then*

Here is an interesting op-ed by Lindsay Rodman, concerning the current Canadian bill concerning, among other things, victims' rights in courts-martial. Her comments on US military justice's provision for victims' counsel are notable. Excerpt:
In the U.S. military, we had a well-established corps of victim advocates, many of whom were licensed clinical social workers, to help victims of sexual assault obtain services and work through the justice process. The fact that they were civilians and the fact that they were not able to advocate in court or with the force of legal argument made victims feel powerless in the process. As such, they clamoured for their own lawyers.

I was dead set against it. The Bill of Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution does not envision a third party in criminal trials. The rights of the accused are well understood in the United States, and the assertion of someone else’s rights, by a lawyer, throughout the justice process seemed anathema. I deeply sympathized with the victims in U.S. military sexual-assault cases – as a female Marine it would have been impossible not to. But I also believe deeply in principles of justice and the process, and I feared this would upend the whole system and tip the balance unconstitutionally away from the rights of the accused.

I was wrong. The sky has not fallen. There are still serious questions about implementation of this relatively new legal concept. There is significant litigation in U.S. military courts of appeal trying to sort out when and how the Victims’ Legal Counsels can speak in court on behalf of their clients. But, the system continues to work and the feedback from victims has been overwhelmingly positive.
Andrews v Styrap (1872) 26 LT 704, 706 per Bramwell B.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Court of Military Commission Review on hold for KSM case

Proceedings before the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review in the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad et al. are on hold because the court lacks the necessary quorum of three judges who aren't disqualified. Sarah Grant discusses the situation here on Lawfare.