Saturday, September 24, 2016

One-line decision in Pakistani capital cases

One fact particularly jumps out in this story about the latest capital case challenges in Pakistan: the Army Court of Appeals is said to have disposed of the cases in a one-line decision. Excerpt:
They contended the judgment passed by the FGCM [Field General Court-Martial] was challenged before a Military Court of Appeals that through single lined Judgment rejected their appeals on July 25, 2016. 
During proceedings of appeals, the petitioners were not provided with the copies of FGCM proceedings.
The petitioners contended that they were innocent and had been made scapegoats to save the real culprits involved in different cases. 
They argued that from the sequence of events right from their arrest till rejection of appeals, it appeared that the petitioners had been awarded death penalty already determined by the elements at the helms of affairs. 
The sentence is not sustainable in the eye of law. 
The petitioners further contended that throughout the court proceedings, their lawyer provided them for defense was a mere spectator. 
All witnesses had changed and fine-tuned their statements recorded previously.

Turkish proposal to abolish top military courts

There seems to be a movement afoot to amend the Turkish Constitution in ways that will affect military justice, including abolition of the top military courts. Sparse details here. Stay tuned.

Why even bother with military courts in Pakistan?

Pakistan Today has this sick op-ed by freelance columnist Muhammad Ali Baig (left). Excerpt:
In the opinion of the author, the use of Clausewitzian “Remarkable Trinity”, a ruthless and brutal general like [Nazi] General [Reinhard] Heydrich is what Pakistan needs, who is dominated by atrocious and vicious tactics coupled with intellect and patriotism. Since conventional deterrence is not enough for terrorists and their actions and Draconian measures are not to be avoided to obliterate terrorism. Some liberal elements in the society may criticise military courts and the death penalty, but Pakistan actually needs the execution of terrorists on the spot without any trial. . . .
*   *   *
. . . The police force and intelligence mechanism need to be merged into some Federal-level organisation like the German Reich’s Main Security Office, which must be given control of all provincial-level police and law-enforcement agencies. Thus a highly centralised and well-communicated centre will be able to monitor all the activities to achieve a single goal.
Think this high-and-tight "freelance columnist" might be in the military? 

Navy protesters reports:
In the wake of two sailors going public with their decision to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by refusing to stand when the Star Spangled Banner [left] is played, Navy Reserve Forces Command today published guidance warning troops that they can be punished or prosecuted for such protests.
Editor's note. This is likely to be a continuing issue. It would seem highly desirable for leaders at the highest level to speak about it, recognizing both that our fellow-citizens in uniform remain very much a part of the national discourse and retain broad First Amendment rights -- and explaining how those interests must be reconciled with the demands of good order and discipline. It can be done. It also has to be done.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Law on hold

An interesting situation has surfaced in Canada, according to this article in The Ottawa Citizen. Parliament passed Bill C-15 -- amendments to the National Defence Act -- in 2013, and the measure promptly received Royal Assent. The problem is that effective dates remained to be determined by the cabinet, and at present some 60% of the law's provisions -- some of which apply to the military justice and grievance systems -- have still not been put into effect. To be sure, a new government has taken office and presumably needs time to come up to speed. That said, three years in limbo seems excessive. Query: will an action lie to compel putting provisions of the law into effect?