First Principles and Last Resorts: Complications of Civilian Influences of the Military Justice System
Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2009
13 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 6, 2009
This article will examine the complex nature of civilian influences upon certain elements of the military justice system, as manifested in recent decisions by courts martial and the Court Martial Appeal Court. An evaluation of the arguments and justifications used in these recent decisions will reveal some of the problems that result from the application of civilian principles of justice in military cases, and will provide the context for a timely reconsideration of the sentencing standards that ought to be applied at courts martial. In other words, I will argue that, contrary to a recent judicial opinion expressed by the CMAC, well-established rules of civilian courts are often inappropriate in military contexts, and unique elements of the military justice system often demand different and/or more severe sentences than those imposed by civilian courts.
Keywords: Military Justice, Sentencing, court martial, military law, service tribunal, imprisonment, last resort
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