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1 QLR Case.Link to 1 QLR Case/Mousa Inquiry

Courts-Martial Decided Cases - S to Z
Protect Northern Ireland veterans with Statute of Limitations
Former British soldiers, who served in Northern Ireland up to the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, should be protected by a Statute of Limitations preventing further investigation and prosecution of incidents which occurred between almost 20 and almost 50 years ago, says the Defence Committee in its report.
[Full Report, 25 April 2017]
[Conclusions and recommendations].   back to the top

Who guards the guardians? MoD support for former and serving personnel: Government Response to the Committee’s Sixth Report
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a responsibility to support its personnel and veterans, in terms of ensuring that they have the correct welfare and legal support when they face legal proceedings, but also in helping to ensure that they are not subject to persistent claims which undermine their ability to do their job. It is a responsibility that the MoD takes extremely seriously and we are therefore grateful to the Committee for bringing these issues to the fore, and making some helpful recommendations for improvement. There MoD alludes to "a number of inaccuracies" in the Report, particularly on the legal framework within which Defence must operate, which in turn has led to an unfair characterisation of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) and its conduct.
[MoD response, 5 April 2017 to The Defence Committee Sixth Report of Session 2016–17, [HC 109], on 10 February 2017].   back to the top

UK military operations in Syria and Iraq - Second Report of Session 2016–17
The report is a valuable examination of the UK role in operations in Iraq and Syria. It is clear that, during the course of this inquiry the Committee wrote to the Secretary of State seeking clarification on the UK bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq."If the Government is to continue to justify and validate its policy of airstrikes in Syria, it must provide the necessary detail on what is being targeted and how those airstrikes directly support moderate forces on the ground which actually have a prospect of taking control. We therefore recommend that the MoD put this information into the public domain so that realistic judgements on the effectiveness of the UK's air operations in Syria can be made." However, the report does not address the legality of the interventions, especially in Syria where there is no UN mandate authorising any military action. Nor does the report look at the legality - and role - of the UK in arming opposition fighters, the logistical and training support given to them and the extent of any such support. These considerations are clearly germane to the question of legality - see the case of Nicaragua v. United States (ICJ, 27 June 1986), which decided inter alia, that "training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying [rebel] forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua, had acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State."
In terms of "moderate fighters", Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria described the existence of moderate opposition groups in Syria as "largely a figment of the imagination". In terms of the UK strategy in the Middle East and the wider strategy against extremism, the Committee found that "[w]hilst the progress in the military campaign to counter DAESH is beginning to gain momentum, the same cannot be said for the progress of political reform. A lack of political reform in Iraq, let alone Syria, may well undermine the military progress to date, removing the threat of DAESH only for it to be replaced by other groups posing similar or even greater threats." Moreover, recent interventions have required much more than mere military campaigns. It is clear that there is no single formula for success but that understanding the local political and cultural context, as well as the nature of the situation on the ground, is absolutely essential. The disparity between military effort and that on stabilisation is concerning. Whilst stabilisation does not carry the same cost as a military operation, the low priority placed on stabilisation did not reassure the Committee about Iraq's long-term future. They shall, therefore consider holding a further inquiry, especially in the light of the Chilcot Report, which will look at the way the UK intervenes—the decision-making process, the preparation and planning both for the military campaign and its aftermath, and the way that the UK Government ensures that it can maintain a solid commitment to a strategy which is comprehensive and achievable.
[Committee Report, 13 September 2016].   back to the top

Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK's future policy options - Third Report of Session 2016–17
In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.
[Committee Report, 6 September 2016].   back to the top

The Chilcot Report
In 2003, for the first time since the Second World War, the United Kingdom took part in an opposed invasion and full-scale occupation of a sovereign State – Iraq. Cabinet decided on 17 March to join the US-led invasion of Iraq, assuming there was no last-minute capitulation by Saddam Hussein. That decision was ratified by Parliament the next day and implemented the night after that. The consequences of the invasion and of the conflict within Iraq which followed are still being felt in Iraq and the wider Middle East, as well as in the UK. It left families bereaved and many individuals wounded, mentally as well as physically. After harsh deprivation under Saddam Hussein's regime, the Iraqi people suffered further years of violence. The decision to use force – a very serious decision for any government to take – provoked profound controversy in relation to Iraq and became even more controversial when it was subsequently found that Iraq's programmes to develop and produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons had been dismantled. It continues to shape debates on national security policy and the circumstances in which to intervene. This report is hugely important and, while not giving an overt opinion on the legality of the war, provides a strong intimation that it was, in fact, illegal. It is devastatingly frank in its criticisms of decision makers and MI6.
[Chilcot Report].   back to the top

Beyond endurance? Military exercises and the duty of care - House of Commons Defence Sub-Committee Third Report of Session 2015–16
The inquiry examined if effective processes exist for learning lessons from accidents and deaths that have occurred during such events and whether there was an appropriate level of accountability and sanction when failings occurred. Of particular concern was to find out if there were any systemic failings in the policies and practices of the MoD and the Armed Forces; the balance between potential risks in training, exercises and selection events with the need to maintain operational preparedness and effectiveness; the provision of medical services during training, exercises and selection events; the checks in place to manage the risk of Service personnel pushing themselves too hard; effective processes for capturing lessons from accidents and deaths during training, exercises and selection events; and how Coroners' recommendations following the deaths of Service personnel were implemented. The Committee recommended, inter alia, that the MoD conduct an analysis of whether Service law is fit for the purpose of holding people accountable for training supervision. It also was not persuaded that the military should be exempt in respect of hazardous training in preparation for operations or that Specialist Military Units should enjoy a complete exemption where gross neglect has occurred. Furthermore, it cannot be right that an individual can be prosecuted while the corporate body cannot. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the military exemptions in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 be amended so that the MoD can be prosecuted if it has been subject to a Crown Censure from the Health and Safety Executive for a particular incident.
[Defence Committee Report].   back to the top

Shifting the goalposts? Defence expenditure and the 2% pledge
This report will be publicly available from the Defence Committee website on Thursday 21 April at 00.01am. The report will examine how the UK should manage its capabilities to engage with Russia where appropriate whilst mitigating military confrontation with Russia; explore the extent of UK understanding of the Russian use of multi-dimensional warfare, and the underlying culture and mind-set; and understand the extent to which the UK has adequate information about Russia's military capabilities and intentions, the main tools of Russian 'multi-dimensional'– also known as 'ambiguous' and 'hybrid'– warfare, and the capacity of the UK and NATO to respond.
[Defence Committee Page].   back to the top

UK military operations in Syria and Iraq inquiry
The House of Commons Defence Select Committee will be conducting an inquiry into UK military operations in Syria and Iraq. Submission deadline is Monday 11 January 2016
[Defence Committee Page].   back to the top

Larium: response providing expert advice of the Surgeon General to the Committee's letter of 8 September 2015 about the use of the anti-malarial mefloquine in the Armed Forces
The Defence Secretary wrote that "Mefloquine is one of a number of anti-malarials we offer personnel. It is licensed in the UK by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency, based on the expert guidance of Public Health England's Advisory Committee for Malaria Prevention (ACMP). It is under continual review, but there are no countries where mefloquine has had its licence withdrawn. It is not a first line drug, and is used primarily in cases where other drugs would not be effective or appropriate for that person. Mefloquine makes up 1.2% of our anti-malarial stocks. The Department complies with national guidelines on Malaria Prevention, which are reviewed annually, with the latest updated version being issued on 16 September 2015. These continue to recommend mefolquine use as long as individual assessments are undertaken before prescribing. Since 2004/05, Defence policy has required mefloquine to be prescribed to Service personnel with the accompanying risk assessment.
The health and wellbeing of our people is paramount, In this and all matters."
Full letter available on the [Committee's website].   back to the top

Decision-making in Defence Policy: Government response to the Committee's Eleventh Report of Session 2014-15
On 26 March 2015, the Defence Committee published its Eleventh Report of Session 2014-15, Decision-making in Defence Policy (HC 682). The Report highlighted what it's predecessor Committee considered to be significant problems with the way in which military advice is provided by the Ministry of Defence as currently configured, and the negative impact this has on the quality of advice given to Ministers. A key suggestion of the Report was that the Chiefs of Staff should be constituted as the Military Sub-Committee of the National Security Council, in order to provide joint military and strategic advice from the professional heads of the Armed Forces. This was not addressed in the Response.
While the DC is content to publish the Government Response, it is yet again dissatisfied with its tone and content, which betray a worrying level of complacency. The Ministry of Defence will soon be facing a number of key policy challenges—the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the National Security Strategy and, ultimately, the Report of the Chilcot Inquiry. Addressing all these challenges will test the Department's ability to provide expert advice to Ministers. The DC is not yet convinced that the Department will pass this test and it intends to revisit this issue following the publication of the SDSR and the NSS.
The Government Response is appended to the Committee's Third Special Report of Session 2015-16, available on the [Committee's website].   back to the top

Defence Committee has written to the Ministry of Defence in support of granting asylum in the United Kingdom to 200 Afghan interpreters
200 Afghan interpreters worked for UK Armed Forces during our mission in Afghanistan. Many of them have been threatened with death by the Taliban. It was recently reported that at least one interpreter has been tortured and murdered after a failed attempt to flee the country. Others live in constant fear of their lives. Despite this clear and present threat to their safety, the Government continue to deny them asylum in the United Kingdom. The Defence Committee consider this to be a wholly unacceptable way to treat proven friends and allies. We would expect Defence Ministers and the Ministry of Defence to take the same robust view. [Letter to the Secretary of State]   back to the top

Defence Committee seeks answers on Lariam by MoD
Defence Committee has written to the Ministry of Defence requesting information on the use of Lariam. The use of Lariam has come under increasing scrutiny and it is clear that the drug does not command the universal support of members of our Armed Forces. The number of cases of military personnel reporting serious side-effects after taking Lariam is deeply disturbing and, as a consequence, the Defence Committee is minded to conduct an investigation into its use. The Committee asked for clarification of a number of issues. [Letter to the Secretary of State]   back to the top

Cpl Long RMP, murdered at an Iraqi police station in Majar-al-Kabir, South East Iraq - family alleged breach of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 by SoS
Corporal Paul Long was one of 6 British soldiers of the Royal Military Police, deployed as "C Section", who were unlawfully killed on 24 June 2003 by members of a crowd at an Iraqi police station in Majar-al-Kabir, South East Iraq. His mother Mrs Pat Long contended that the Secretary of State for Defence was in breach of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Her case in summary was that there has not been a sufficient investigation into the circumstances of the death and that this constitutes a breach of article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal held that the state had substantially discharged its investigative obligation under article 2 after a very thorough Board of Inquiry.  [Judgment on BAILII]   back to the top

Corporal's wife Caroline Salisbury jailed for three years after having sex with 14-year-old boy
An Army corporal's wife who had sex with a 14-year-old boy has been jailed for three years, after judges ruled her initial suspended sentence was unduly lenient. Caroline Salisbury, 28, befriended the boy while employed as a school bus monitor, groomed him and had sex with him on four occasions, despite being warned to stay away from the teenager. She pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual activity with a child in February this year and was handed a two year suspended sentence. The initial sentence of two-year's suspended imprisonment was referred by Attorney General Jeremy Wright as being unduly lenient, following complaints from the boy's family and an MP. [Daily Mail, 28 March 2015], [Independent, 4 June 2015]   back to the top

The Iraq Fatality Investigations
The consolidated report into the death of Nadheem Abdullah and the death of Hassan Abbas Said is now available. Anonymity rulings were made in relation to the identities of the soldiers concerned in the deaths of the 2 Iraqis, even though, in each case, criminal, trials were conducted and reported upon, and the identities of the main individuals disclosed and, therefore, known.
The Chairman, Sir George Newman, touched upon issues which the domestic courts and the ECtHR have also been addressing, albeit his view demonstrates a clearer understanding of the practical difficulties of soldiering. He recognised that "instant judgements which have to be made in the sort of circumstances I have had to consider appear to me to present a great challenge for soldiers in executing law and order functions in hostile and foreign theatres of operation." The Chairman found that, "as a whole the evidence demonstrated the existence of gaps in the VCP training and in particular the handling of uncooperative occupants of vehicles stopped or chased during a VCP in prevailing dangerous and volatile conditions such as those in Maysan Province in Iraq in May 2003." However, these "gaps in training" were not in any way a factor that was causative of the treatment inflicted on Mr Abdullah. The training received by the soldiers addressed the concept of using minimum force. In the case of Mr Said, it was said that the situation in "Maysan Province .... wasn't just a 'walk in the park'. Tension was high and it was an area that was frequently inflicted with bloody tribal feuds. People were 'ready' for things to happen all the time." This is the reality of life in an operational theatre.
The Report available is [here].   back to the top

Defence Select Committee 11th Report: Decision-making in Defence Policy
The report examines two examples of poor decision-making in the past. One Secretary of State claimed that he was not aware of being in the chain of command; some civilians seemed uncomfortable challenging military advice; and there was little sense of any long-term strategy underpinning the decisions. All this seems to have created a system which struggled to establish and prioritise defence objectives, evaluate alternative options available, or manage the risks of final decisions. Immensely important and costly decisions appear to have had remarkably uncertain foundations.
The Committee found that subsequent reforms, and the development of the National Security Council, have improved interdepartmental coordination, and brought clearer leadership, clearer accountability, clearer civilian control, and clearer opportunity for challenge. This was all a substantial improvement on the old decision-making system. But significant problems are still not addressed. There is a continuing lack of deep-country or subject expertise, and therefore, a lack of high-quality information or evidence available to decision-makers. More needs to be done to educate the key decision-makers better, and train them to think and act more strategically. Chairman of the Committee, Rory Stewart MP, says, "In both the Helmand and Carrier examples, the MoD seemed to have been poorly informed of the facts, which inevitably led to decision-makers misunderstanding the nature of the problems. Those responsible do not seem to have sought the right expert advice, or if they did, they ignored it. To compound that situation, there does not seem to have been a healthy culture of challenge within the chain of command. We are pleased that recent reforms have addressed the lack of clarity in decision-making. But there is more to be done."
Defence Committee Report available [here].   back to the top

Defence Select Committee 10th Report: Re-thinking Defence To Meet New Threats
The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the plans to develop the Future Force 2020 no longer reflect the new threats to peace around the world, says the Defence Committee in its report: "Re-thinking Defence to Meet New Threats".
For the first time in twenty years, an advanced military state has challenged the borders of European nations, and the security challenges in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia have increased dramatically in scale and complexity. Serious instability persists in Darfur, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Pakistan. Three million people have been displaced and two hundred thousand killed in Syria. These represent just some of the security challenges.
Defence Committee Report available [here].   back to the top

Summary of the discussions held during the expert consultation on the administration of justice through military tribunals and the role of the integral judicial system in combating human rights violations
In its resolution 25/4, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to organize an expert consultation for an exchange of views on human rights considerations relating to the issues of administration of justice through military tribunals and the role of the integral judicial system in combating human rights violations. The expert consultation was held on 24 November 2014 in Geneva. The present report was prepared by OHCHR pursuant to the request of the Council.
The main issues discussed during the consultation were independence, impartiality and competence of the judiciary, including military courts; the right to fair trial before courts, including military courts, and other procedural protections; the personal jurisdiction of military courts; and subject matter jurisdiction of military courts.
Link to the report [here].   back to the top

The Armed Forces Covenant in Action Part 5: Military Casualties, a review of progress
The Defence Committee published the Government response to the Committee's Fourth report on The Armed Forces Covenant in Action Part 5: Military Casualties, a review of progress on Friday 23 January at 11.00 am. The comments relate to, inter alia, Mental health of Armed Forces personnel, Support for Families, Support for the recovery of wounded, injured or sick personnel, and Hearing Damage. The issue of adequate and fair compensation for Service personnel and veterans with Service-related noise damage to hearing is an important one. Compensation for hearing loss ranges from a lump sum award of £6,000 up to £470,000, and more serious injuries will also include a tax-free index-linked Guaranteed Income Payment. Veterans under 75 are three and a half times more likely than the general population to report hearing difficulty.
The Armed Forces Covenant provides the assurance that the needs of all of those who have served in the Armed Forces and their families will continue to be met. The requirement under the Armed Forces Act for an annual report to be made to Parliament and the involvement of service charities and others in this process provides open and transparent public scrutiny of the ongoing commitment to delivering the Covenant.
Link to the report [here].   back to the top

Defence Committee - Tenth Special Report - Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill: Government Response to the Committee's Fifth Report of Session 2014-15
The Government's response was received on 16 December 2014 and is appended to The Defence Committee Fifth Report of Session 2014-15 on the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill (HC 508) published on 23 October 2014. The government suggests a number of changes to the Bill as presently worded, eg "that a person should not be eligible to be appointed as Ombudsman for a period of five years after leaving the regular or reserve forces. Such a stipulation would assist in underlining the independence of the Ombudsman and reduce the possibility that someone taking up the post could be known to parties involved in a complaint or have been involved themselves with a complaint." A further recommendation is, "the MoD to consult the Ombudsman, when appointed, on the establishment of a central tri-service Service complaints unit and to inform this Committee of the outcome of the consultations." An important suggestion is that the "the chain of command should be required to notify the Ombudsman when it receives a complaint regarding the Service Police and that it should specify the nature of such a complaint... the MoD [is] to ensure that where complaints are made to the Ombudsman about the Service Police, that he or she has expert assistance from qualified professionals to review such cases."
Access the report [here].   back to the top

Al-Sweady Inquiry Chairman's concluded Report laid before Parliament, Wednesday 17 December 2014
On 14 May 2004 armed Iraqi insurgents ambushed vehicles belonging to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders ("A&SH") near a permanent vehicle check point known to the military by its code name of "Danny Boy". Following a fierce battle, where soldiers displayed outstanding courage and bravery, many Iraqis were killed and a small number of British soldiers were wounded. The bodies of 20 dead Iraqis, together with nine captives, were taken back to Camp Abu Naji to assist in the identification of the Iraqi dead to see if there was amongst them an individual who was suspected of having been involved in the murder of six Royal Military Police ("RMP") in Al Majar al'Kabir in 2003. The nine live Iraqis were detained overnight at Camp Abu Naji and, the following day, transferred to the Divisional Temporary Detention Facility ("DTDF") at Shaibah, where they were detained for just over four months before being handed over to the Iraqi Criminal Justice System. Rumours began to circulate in Al Majar al'Kabir that not all of the 20 dead Iraqi had died on the battlefield and that a number of them had been murdered by British soldiers after having been taken alive to Camp Abu Naji. It was also said that, after their arrival at Camp Abu Naji, a number of the live Iraqis had been tortured or ill-treated and/or had been unlawfully detained. In proceedings for judicial review Khuder Karim Ashour Al-Sweady (witness 1) alleged that his nephew Hamid Al Sweady was one of a number of Iraqi nationals said to have been unlawfully killed whilst in the custody of British troops at Camp Abu Naji. Judicial Review Proceedings were postponed pending a proper investigation. The Inquiry was established for that purpose. The inquiry concluded (§737) "the vast majority of the allegations made against the British military, which this Inquiry was required to investigate (including, without exception, all the most serious allegations), were wholly and entirely without merit or justification. Very many of those baseless allegations were the product of deliberate and calculated lies on the part of those who made them and who then gave evidence to this Inquiry in order to support and perpetuate them. Other false allegations were the result of inappropriate and reckless speculation on the part of witnesses." The report criticised the Shooting Incident Review policy as leading to a possible breach of the obligation under article 2 ECHR to conduct a proper investigation. Detainee handling was found to be less than satisfactory in a number of respects. In contrast, he found the evidence of military witnesses "to be both truthful and reliable" [Access the Report]   back to the top

Committee Publishes Report Supporting The Appointment Of Nicola Williams As The Service Complaints Commissioner
On the 26 November 2014, the Defence Committee held a pre-appointment hearing with Nicola Williams, the Government's preferred candidate for the post of Service Complaints Commissioner. Today, the Committee publishes a Report supporting her appointment (Sixth Report, Session 2014-15, HC 832).The Report is available on the Committee's website, www.parliament.uk/defcom and copies may be purchased from The Houses of Parliament Shop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JX, Tel: 020 7219 3890). There were 88 applications for the post with 12 candidates long-listed for preliminary interview by GatenbySanderson, the recruitment consultants. Four candidates were shortlisted for final interviews and the panel decided that two candidates were appointable to the role. Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, MoD, met the candidates on 3 November and nominated Nicola Williams as her preferred candidate.
Nicola Williams has held the post of the Complaints Commissioner for Cayman Islands since 2009 with a remit that covers 93 government bodies. Since 2009 she has also been a Crown Court Recorder sitting on the London and South Eastern Circuit. Previously, Ms Williams was a Commissioner at the Independent Police Complaints Commission with particular responsibility for Kent, Sussex, the Ministry of Defence Police and part of the Metropolitan Police. She has also been a board member at the Police Complaints Authority and from 1985 to 2001 she was a barrister in private practice specialising in criminal law. A full CV is appended to this report. It is not known what, if any, military experience or understanding she has.[The continuing march to civilianising the armed forces?]   back to the top

Global Seminar on Military Justice Reform
Eugene R. Fidell, Senior Research Scholar in Law and Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School organized this event at Yale Law School, on 7-8th November 2014, which brought together military law experts from 15 countries around the world. The Seminar was sponsored by the generosity of the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School and in cooperation with the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and the National Institute of Military Justice. This was a very important opportunity for military lawyers from around the world to exchange information and discuss the systems they operate under. [Access here].
Yale Law School has a dedicated web page for the Seminar and Eugene's informative blog is to be found [here] - this is essential reading for all who are serious about military justice reform.   back to the top

ECtHR decisions on trade unions in French armed forces
The European Court of Human Rights handed down decisions in two cases concerning trade unions in the French Armed Forces:  Matelly v. France, App. No. 10609/10, and ADEFDROMIL v. France, App. No. 32191/09. The court found a violation of the right to freedom of association under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights in France's order that M. Jean-Hugues Matelly, a member of the gendarmerie, resign from the "Forum for Gendarmes and Citizens." According to the summary, the "blanket ban on forming or joining a trade union encroached on the very essence of freedom of association, could not be considered proportionate and had not therefore been 'necessary in a democratic society.'" The applicant in the second case was the Association for the Protection of the Rights of Military Personnel, which was established by two military officers. The court held there as well that the blanket ban violated Article 11. The decisions are available on the court's website in French. Organizing or joining a union in the U.S. armed forces is a federal crime, as noted here. The big question is what ramifications does this have for UK armed forces, where the chain of command in each Service have resisted any form of federation for their Servicemen and women, in spite of the Council of Europe Recommendation 1572 (2002) 11. [With thanks to Gene Fidell and his excellent blog, Global Military Justice Reform]. NB, these cases are now on the Aspals database. There is an unofficial translation of the Matelly decision available to subscribers.   back to the top

Government responses to Committee's Tenth Report of Session 2013- 14 Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems - current and future UK use; Intervention: Why, When and How?: Government Response to the Committee's Fourteenth Report of Session 2013- 14
In its response to the Drone report, the government stated that the "UK fully complies with its obligations under international law. All of our attack systems, including RPAS, operate with clear legal authority, such as UN Security Council Resolutions and UK forces operate in accordance with International Humanitarian Law, following the principles of humanity, proportionality, military necessity and distinction." Reaper and Watchkeeper are both in the core programme and, on current plans, the former will be replaced from 2018 onwards through the SCAVENGER programme.
It its response to the report on intervention, the government continues to insist that there is a right of 'humanitarian intervention' even without a UN Security Council mandate, which contradicts what it says about operating with a clear legal authority "such as UN Security Council Resolutions". This is simply wrong and we are perhaps the only country that believes this right exists under international law. The "might is right" argument has no place in an international society which is governed by the rule of law.   [Access Here]   back to the top

UK Armed Forces Personnel and the Legal Framework for Future Operations - Annex: Government response
The response in general terms accepts the findings of the Committee and sets out how the government intends to respond. One such example is an intention to appeal the recent judgment in Serdar Mohammed. There is the prospect of legislation to deal with the issue of combat immunity (to exempt liability when eg we kill or injure our own servicemen during combat) - but Aspals consider the meaning of "combat" needs to be strictly defined so as not to excuse incompetence in those responsible for equipping and training service personnel. While the response claims "The Government has been actively involved in a range of initiatives aimed at strengthening international humanitarian law", there is no indication of how the real problem of prisoner handling can be resolved, while the courts - both domestic and the ECtHR - continue to find ECHR obligations overriding IHL. This is an international problem and needs to be addressed eg at UN level, as courts tend to find ways to bypass article 103 of the Charter.
In its final response, concerning the exploitation of the media by UK's adversaries, the Government said, the "MOD's primary focus is to prevent any such incidents. But recent developments in the Al-Sweady public inquiry have demonstrated again the very real problem of false accusations, which in this case were highlighted in MOD's submissions to the Inquiry. MOD will continue to resist false accusations, whether in inquiries or in other legal proceedings such as personal injury claims. The Department will continue to seek to make clear to the media and the public both the severe view it takes of violations and its determination to protect staff against false accusations."   [Access Here]   back to the top

Afghanistan - Camp Bastion Attack: Government Response to the Committee's Thirteenth Report of Session 2013-14
Government responses to the "The burning man incident", Security incidents recorded in Helmand Province; Camp Bastion guard towers; Perimeter Security; and Force Protection projects and expenditure. Lessons have been identified and captured following numerous UK, US and ISAF reviews in the year following the attack on Camp Bastion. As a result of these extensive efforts, there have been further significant enhancements to force protection at the complex: additional personnel have been deployed, command and control arrangements improved and base surveillance measures enhanced.   [Access Here]   back to the top

Afghanistan - House of Commons Defence Committee Fifteenth Report of Session 2013- 14
Following a campaign that was so protracted and costly in both casualties and expenditure of resources, it is important for the public to understand what has been achieved in our engagement in Afghanistan. The COmmittee asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the MoD had for a comprehensive review of our involvement in Afghanistan. He replied:
Once the campaign is over, it will clearly be appropriate to look at a strategic level across the campaign as a whole to see what lessons need to be learned in addition to those thrown up by the short-term and medium-term processes. I would expect that we would do that, but the time to do it will be when the campaign is completed.
He explained that the terms of reference for a future review of the campaign had not yet been scoped and he invited the Committee to make recommendations about what a post-campaign review should cover. The Committee consider that it would be appropriate for an independent national lessons study into Afghanistan to be commissioned by the Government. It should receive input from all departments of state concerned, and take evidence from all those engaged and affected by the campaign. The Committee recommends that the study should include a balanced review of the successes and setbacks of the campaign, identifying lessons from the tactical to the strategic, clearly distinguishing the pre-2006 section of the campaign from activities in Helmand from 2006 onward.   [Access Here]   back to the top

Independence of judges and lawyers - Report of the UN Special Rapporteur
The report focuses on the compliance of military tribunals with human rights law and internationally recognised standards. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers addresses these concerns and proposes a number of solutions that are premised on the view that the jurisdiction of military tribunals should be restricted to offences of a military nature committed by military personnel. States that establish military justice systems should aim to guarantee the independence and impartiality of military tribunals, as well as the exercise and enjoyment of a number of human rights, including the right to a fair trial and the right to an effective remedy. The present report is based on an analysis of international and regional human rights instruments, the jurisprudence of international and regional human rights mechanisms and responses received to a questionnaire on military justice. Does this have implications on the Summary Justice system in the British armed forces?   [Access Here]   back to the top

Veterans' Transition Review
The Veterans' Transition Review was conducted by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC. The Review was published on 11 February 2014 examining the transition of Armed Forces personnel from their military careers to civilian life at the end of their service.   [Access Here]   back to the top

Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13
Armed Forces have significant shortages in key specialists and the rate of voluntary outflow is higher than the 10 year average. MOD must do more to retain service personnel in vital trades where there are shortages, says the Defence Committee in its report into the MOD annual report and accounts.   [Access Here]   back to the top

Defence Committee - Seventh Report - Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part One
A highly critical report in which the Committee asks, 'Was the 2010 Strategic and Security Review strategic?' and points out that the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2010 National Security Strategy were governed by the overriding strategic objective of reducing the UK's budget deficit. They found it difficult to divine any other genuinely strategic vision in either document. This is the first of a series of reports that the Committee intends to publish to assist in the preparation of the next Defence and Security Review, to both inform and shape the next Review and the next National Security Strategy and help to drive a more strategic approach to security across Government.   [Access Here]   back to the top

Change at the Top - Director Service Prosecutions
Aspals understands that the first Director Service Prosecutions, Bruce Houlder QC, has retired and is succeeded by Andrew Cayley QC. After a long and distinguished career at the Bar, the SPA presented a new challenge for Bruce, as he had no prior service background. He headed the SPA at a time of intense media coverage involving criminal allegations against our servicemen on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, the SPA successfully prosecuted the cases of Sgt Nightingale (firearms offences) and Blackman (murder of a prisoner of war). Aspals wish him well in his next career move. Andrew Cayley is a former Army Legal Services officer, who retired in the field rank of Major and who, after a period of loan service with the ICTY, went on to take on a full-time post there and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity arising from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. He was on the prosecution team prosecuting those accused of genocide in Srebrenica where over of 9000 men and boys were murdered. He led the investigation against Colonel General Ratko Mladic - now on trial in The Hague - and the first prosecution of members of the Kosovo Liberation Army for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 1998 in Kosovo. In 2005 he moved on to prosecute at the ICC in the Hague and, latterly, in 2009 became the International Co-Prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. Aspals wish Andrew every success in this new post.   back to the top

Goodbye to George III - The fight over prosecuting sexual assault in the military is really over an antiquated model of commander control.
An excellent article by Eugene R. Fidell, of Yale Law School, who examines the competing proposals of two Democract Senators, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sen. Claire McCaskill. At first glance, the proposals may look like alternate routes to the same goal, but there is a profound difference between them. Gillibrand's bill would transfer the commander's power to decide who will be court-martialed for serious offences to lawyers outside the chain of command (except for core military offences, like desertion and disobedience). McCaskill's bill would largely keep commanders in the driver's seat, but with an added layer of review for sex offences. Read [here]
The bill has been compromised to strengthen protections for military victims of sexual assault, although it stops well short of the more far-reaching changes advocated by many victims and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who sought to remove military commanders from overseeing the cases and brought considerable attention to the issue this year. "... real reform in the structure of military justice has been put off." (Eugene Fidell) [More...]   back to the top

Guidance On Sentencing In The Court Martial, Version 4
The latest version in this excellent guide for practitioners. Released on 11 October 2013    [Access Here], (64 pages).   back to the top

Twice Betrayed - Bringing Justice to the U.S. Military's Sexual Assault Problem
A report which examines the need for reform of the US military justice system in the context of sexual assault allegations, to remove the power to deal with them from the chain of command. It looks at the difficulties in victims reporting to the chain of command rape/sexual assault and the perception, at least of harm which may be done to the complainant's career. The authors identify the two systems run by US allies: where prosecutions are handled by the civilian system and, as in the case of Canada and the UK, where they are handled by an independent military prosecutor. They point out that in both cases, no proven damage to readiness or unit cohesion of these militaries has declined because commanders are not handling criminal cases. Under the US status of forces agreement with Japan and South Korea, these countries can and do prosecute US service personnel who commit crimes off base.    [Read the Report ], (45 pages).   back to the top

The Export Control (Syria Sanctions) Order 2013
Order makes provision for certain trade restrictions against Syria and certain Syrian persons. The prohibitions apply to any person in the United Kingdom and United Kingdom persons, as defined in section 11 of the Export Control Act 2002(c. 28), wherever they are in the world. The measures include prohibitions on the export, transfer or the provision of brokering services to Syria or to Syrian persons in relation to equipment or technology which might be used for internal repression as listed in Schedule 2 to the Order. In addition, this Order makes provision for the enforcement of certain new trade sanctions against Syria specified in Council Regulation (EU) No 867/2012 (OJ No L 257, 25.9.2012, p1), Council Regulation (EU) No 325/2013 (OJ No L 102, 11.4.2013, p 1) and Council Regulation (EU) No 697/2013 (OJ No L 198, 23.7.2013, p 28) all of which amend Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria ("the Amended Syria Regulation").    [SI 2013 No. 2012 ]   back to the top

Defence Reform Bill
The Bill is intended to improve procurement and support of defence equipment and to strengthen the reserve forces. The Bill contains four Parts and seven Schedules. Part 1 relates to the reform of the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation. Part 2 creates a regulatory framework for "single source contracts" (that is, contracts which are not subject to a legal obligation to be advertised and competed) in the defence area, a new Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), called the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO), to oversee that regulatory framework, and a civil compliance regime to ensure compliance with key aspects of the regulatory framework. Part 3 makes changes to reserve forces by extending the powers to "call out" members of the reserve forces.    [Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes]   back to the top

The work of the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces: Government's and Commissioner's Responses to the Committee's Eighth Report of Session 2012-13 - Fourth Special Report 2013-14
The Defence Committee published its Eighth Report of Session 2012-13 on The work of the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces on 26 February 2013. The responses from the Government and the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces were received on 14 June 2013 and 3 May 2013 respectively and are published as Appendices 1 and 2 to this Report.   [Report, 25 June 2013]   back to the top

Text of White House Statement on Chemical Weapons in Syria
At the following link is the statement issued by the White House in the name of Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser suggesting the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year. There is a serious omission, however, of any reference to chemical weapons use by rebel forces and a failure to address the report by the Independent UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria which was to that effect.    [New York Times, 13 June 2013]   back to the top

Germany's Ratification of the Crime of Aggression Amendment: A Significant Step
June 3, 2013, Germany deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendment on the crime of aggression. The ratification is the 6th to date, and one step closer to the thirty ratifications needed to activate the International Criminal Court's crime of aggression. [Opinio Juris, 4 June 2013]      back to the top

High Court directs major overhaul of Iraq death and mistreatment allegations investigation
Remember the Iraq War? Thousands of Iraqis died in the hostilities or were detained by the British. Thanks to two decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in July 2011 (Al-Skeini and Al-Jedda - our coverage here), the state's duty under the Human Rights Act to investigate deaths and extreme mistreatment applied in Iraq at that time. It is fascinating to see how the UK authorities have been unravelling the extent of that duty. The Baha Mousa Public Inquiry has reported and the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry is ongoing. In this major judgment, which may yet be appealed, the High Court has ruled the manner in which the UK Government is investigating deaths and perhaps mistreatment is insufficient to satisfy its investigative duty. [UK Human Rights Blog, 24 May 2013]      [Read the judgment]   back to the top

Army law: uniform instructions
Some press reports estimate that up to one in four of the army's lawyers face being cut. And the overall picture for the army is one of drastically reduced headcount - the Ministry of Defence's Future Force 2020 plans will see the army cut 20,000 regular soldiers by 2020, with the number of regular soldiers set to fall to 82,000. Last year, during the second completed phase of cuts, four Army Legal Services lieutenant colonels applied for voluntary redundancy. [Read Here]   back to the top

New UK Chief of the Defence Staff appointed
Congratulations to General Sir Nicholas Houghton will succeed General Sir David Richards as the UK's next Chief of the Defence Staff in July 2013. A hearty "thank you" to General Sir David for his custodianship of the Services through a very difficult time. [Read Here]   back to the top

David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces pay
The head of the independent body responsible for military pay, Professor Alasdair Smith, (and also a member of the Review Body on Senior Salaries), has been sacked by David Cameron after calling for servicemen to be given a rise to compensate for Coalition defence cuts. [Read the Report]   back to the top

Defence Committee - Eighth Report: The work of the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces
The Committee found that the Service complaints system is too complex, time-consuming and needs to be simplified. The MoD should reconsider the Commissioner's proposal that one level of appeal in the system should be removed. It also recommends the appointment of an Ombudsman. [Access the Report]   back to the top

Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill
A Bill to provide that certain offences committed towards members of the armed forces shall be treated as aggravated; and for connected purposes. The Bill was withdrawn on 1 February 2013 and will not progress any further. It was argued that the Armed Forces Covenant Report, under the Armed Forces Act 2011, section 2, was sufficient to address concerns. [Text of Bill]   back to the top

UN Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012) - Mali
Chapter VII mandate authorizes the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) for an initial period of one year, which shall take all necessary measures, in compliance with applicable international humanitarian law and human rights law and in full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Mali. [Available Here]   back to the top

DLA Piper Report of the Review of Allegations of Sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence
On 26 November 2012, the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith announced the Government's response to the Review into Allegations of Sexual and other forms of Abuse in Defence. The response included:
  • A general apology to members of the Australian Defence Force or Defence employees who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in the course of their employment
  • The establishment of an independent Taskforce to assess the individual complaints and any wider systemic issues to be headed by the Hon Len Roberts-Smith QC
  • access to a capped compensation scheme; and
  • a free telephone hotline (already established) so that complainants can from today access information about the Government's response (1800 424 991).
The redacted version of Final Report of Phase 1 of the Review conducted by law firm DLA Piper was released by the Minister on 10 July 2012 (redacted for public release) DLA Piper was engaged by Defence to methodically review allegations at arm's length from Defence and to make recommendations for further action. The review was in two phases. Visit the background page if you would like to learn more about the background of this review. [Access Here]   back to the top

The Gotovina Verdict Does Not Wipe the Slate Clean
A previous judgement to indict two Croatian generals of war crimes during 1995 has been overturned on appeal. While their conduct is deemed within the reasonable demands of a military offensive, Serbian prejudices against the War Crimes Tribunal process will be reinforced. [Access Here]   back to the top

Court of Appeal - New procedure relating to the lodging of authorities
In force 1 October 2012 Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) - advocates are required to provide a list of authorities upon which they wish to rely in their written or oral submissions before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). This list should be annexed to but not form part of the grounds of appeal/appeal notice or respondent's notice. If exceptionally, it has not been annexed to the appeal notice or respondent's notice it should be annexed to any skeleton argument. When considering what authorities to rely on, advocates would be wise to consider the comments of the Lord Chief Justice in R v Erskine; R v Williams 2009 EWCA 1425, 2009 2 Cr. App. R 29. [For more information, read the Note of the Registrar].   back to the top

Circuit Judge Appointment - Watson QC
The Queen has appointed Francis Paul Watson QC to be a Circuit Judge on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke QC MP. The Right Honourable The Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, has assigned him to the North Eastern Circuit, based at Sheffield Combined Court Centre with effect from Tuesday 23 October 2012. Francis Paul Watson QC, 59, will be known as His Honour Judge Paul Watson QC. He was called to the Bar (G) in 1978 and took Silk in 2002. He was appointed as an Assistant Recorder in 1998 and as a Recorder in 2000. He previously served in the Army Legal Services as a legal officer, retiring in the rank of major. Aspals congratulates His Honour Judge Watson QC and wishes him every good fortune in his appointment.   back to the top

BIRW - Report on the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry
"In this report BIRW has highlighted the link between Belfast 1971 and Basra 2003, based on more than 20 years documenting the tactics used by the British Army in Northern Ireland. The similarities sadly speak for themselves. Some comfort can be taken from the fact that the Baha Mousa Inquiry was able to establish the truth, prompting a statement of condemnation from David Cameron and a formal apology from the Ministry of Defence. As the report notes, we now have an inquiry model that can be replicated in order to help ensure that future inquiries are fair and effective." Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC.   [Note that, in §6.4 of the report, it is said: "BIRW have no difficulty at all, in the light of all the evidence, in concluding that not only was Baha Mousa tortured, he was murdered." Murder requires the prosecution to prove an intention either (a) to kill or (b) to do grievous ie really serious, bodily harm. The report does not point to the evidence which it says supports its view].    [Access Here]   back to the top

Forms of Address in the Court Martial
In a direction of 31 August 2012, the Judge Advocate General, His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett, has directed that "from 1st September 2012 Judge Advocates shall be addressed in court as 'Your Honour' and referred to as His or Her Honour. I have agreed this change with the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales. This change will make the form of address in the Court Martial consistent with that in the Crown Court. This is especially appropriate because of the change in section 26 of the Armed Forces Act 2011 enabling all Judge Advocates to sit in the civilian system." See also At Trial   back to the top

Rules of Procedure and Evidence adopted for the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
The Judges of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) recently adopted the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, to guide the work of the institution mandated with carrying out a number of essential functions of the ICTY and the ICTR after the completion of their respective mandates. Adopted on 8 June 2012, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence will govern the Mechanism's trial and appellate proceedings as well as sentencing and early release practices. [MICT Rules of Procedure and Evidence]   back to the top

Case Note: A Critical Review of the ICC's Recent Practice Concerning Admissibility Challenges and Complementarity - draft version of a case note forthcoming with Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 13, no. 1, 2012
The principle of complementarity has often been pointed to as the cornerstone of the Rome Statute (the Statute); as a key concept which permeates the entire structure and functioning of the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court). Although the legal literature has been preoccupied with discussing the nature and scope of complementarity the Statute, until recently however the jurisprudence of the ICC has only to a limited extent dealt with a number of key issues pertaining to complementarity. However, the Court's recent practice – a series of decisions, including the Appeals Chamber's decisions of 30 August 2011, relating to an admissibility challenge filed by the Government of Kenya – offers a significant contribution to the understanding of complementarity. These decisions have not yet been comprehensively assessed in the literature on the ICC and complementarity. Examining the Court's most recent practice against the backdrop of existing case law and the literature on the topic, this Case Note identifies four key contributions of the ICC decisions. [Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 13, no. 1, 2012]   back to the top

Short War, Long Shadow - The Political and Military Legacies of the 2011 Libya Campaign
The impetus for the UK to intervene came very much from the top, with a hawkish prime minister pushing the operation despite private military warnings of the risks. At home and abroad, a debate quickly flared up over the generous interpretation of 'all necessary means' to 'protect Libyan civilians' in UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Whatever the initial intention of the Permanent Five, there is little doubt that the operation mutated into a proxy war with regime change as the object. Jonathan Eyal concludes that this may lead to some troubling implications for the fledgling concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) – not least, China and Russia feeling that they were hoodwinked into permitting an operation they did not intend. They may not be so trusting in the future. [RUSI Report], 19 March 2012   back to the top

Armed Forces Redundancies - Commons Library Standard Note
This note sets out the information that has been publicly released regarding the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme. The Government announced plans to cut 17,000 from the armed forces by 2015 in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in October 2010. A further reduction in the size of the Army was announced in July 2011. [Standard notes SN05951], 29 February 2012   back to the top

Defence Committee - Tenth Special Report
The Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Part 1: Military Casualties: Government Response to the Committee's Seventh Report of Session 2010-12. Access the report [here]    Do you have an opinion on the Government's response? Please let us [know].   back to the top

Defence Committee - Ninth Report, Operations in Libya Terrorism
Defence Committee report resulting from its inquiry into operations in Libya. Although their inquiry focused mainly on operational aspects of the mission, they were also keen to examine wider issues arising from the mission such as how the capability decisions in the SDSR and subsequent announcements had affected the UK contribution to operations in Libya. Their Report covers the development and adoption of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and NATO's operational implementation of the Resolutions, including command and control structures and decisions, and the potential impact on the future of the Alliance, particularly the involvement of non-member nations. They then discuss the UK's involvement in, and the lessons learned from, the mission. [Report]  [Evidence]   back to the top

Foreign Affairs Committee
Over the last four years, Somali piracy has grown into a major problem for the international community, representing a threat to vital trading routes and to national and international security. As a state whose strengths and vulnerabilities are distinctly maritime, the UK should play a leading role in the international response to piracy. Despite nine UN Security Council resolutions and three multinational naval operations, the counter-piracy policy has had limited impact. The number of attempted attacks, the cost to the industry and the cost of the ransoms have all increased significantly since 2007. ...............................[Tenth Report Piracy off the coast of Somalia]   back to the top

Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) (Amendment) Order 2011
Comes into force on 17th November 2011 and amends the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2011 ("the principal Order") which provides for benefits to be payable to or in respect of a person by reason of injury or illness (whether physical or mental), or death, which is caused (wholly or partly) by service in the armed forces or reserve forces. ...............................[SI 2011 No. 2552]   back to the top

Tribunal convicts Momcilo Perisic for crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia
Perisic, the most senior officer and Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) from 26 August 1993 to 24 November 1998, was found guilty by majority in the Trial Chamber, Judge Moloto dissenting, of aiding and abetting murders, inhumane acts, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, and attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. He was also found guilty, by majority of Judges, Judge Moloto dissenting, of failing to punish his subordinates for their crimes of murder, attacks on civilians and injuring and wounding civilians during the rocket attacks on Zagreb on 2 and 3 May 1995. Perisic was unanimously acquitted of charges of aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity in Srebrenica and of command responsibility in relation to crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. ...............................[Summary of Judgment (6 September 2011)]   back to the top

General Wesley Clark on 9/11 and Libya, Libya was already planned, Iran next..
General Clarke speaks of his amazement at some aspects of US foreign policy and the shopping list of states where military intervention was planned, seemingly motivated by the presence of oil. In his view, without oil, the middle east would be as interesting to the US as Africa. Watch for yourself. ...............................[YouTube]
Watch also:  [Putin: Who gave NATO right to kill Gaddafi? ]   back to the top

The real scandal is not hacking but Helmand
The 75-page report by the Parliamentary Defence Committee, the details of which we reveal today, is a precise and shocking expose of how British troops on duty in Helmand, Afghanistan, from 2006 onwards were routinely failed by their senior officers and government ministers. As scandals go, it is among the very worst. ...............................[Telegraph, 17 July]
[Access the report]   back to the top

Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war
Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato's war in Libya. Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters. An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence. [Independent, 24 June 2011]   back to the top

The Armed Forces (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2011
Regulations to amend the Terms of Service Regulations for the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force principally concerning transfer to the Reserve. Importantly, Regulations 5, 8, 9 and 11 insert new regulations into the Terms of Service Regulations for each Service. The new regulations enable a person, under the age of 18 years, to leave the Armed Forces as of right. [Access on-line]   back to the top

Application no. 66387/10 by J. L. against the United Kingdom
An important case pending in the European Court of Human Rights. The applicant, a diasbled wife of a serviceman dismissed the Service, complains under Article 8 of the Convention that the possession proceedings brought against her violated her right to respect for her home (a service married quarter). The applicant further complains that in view of her "different situation" the decision to grant the Ministry of Defence the right to evict her before alternative accommodation was available violated her rights under Article 14 read together with Article 8 of the Convention. The question posed to the parties is: Was the interference with the applicant's respect for her home, within the meaning of Article 8 § 1 of the Convention, necessary in terms of Article 8 § 2?  See:  Application no. 66387/10   back to the top

The revised Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
The revised Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) has now been launched, incorporating all of the recommendations made by Admiral the Lord Boyce, former Chief of Defence Staff, in his Review of the scheme in 2010. These changes include the recommendations made by the Independent Medical Expert Group (IMEG) which has now published its first report. You can find this report and the Government's response to the report on the right hand side under Related Pages. As a result of the changes to the Scheme, Service personnel who become injured or ill as a result of their service will now be able to benefit from an even more comprehensive compensation package. [Defence, 9 May 2011]
[AFCS Communications Toolkit]  back to the top

Libya: Col Gaddafi's letter to Barack Obama in full
The following is the text of a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The misspellings and grammatical errors are in the original letter. [Telegraph, 6 April 2011]  back to the top

British Casualties - Afghanistan, Edition - 07 Oct 01 - 15 Mar 11
This publication, produced by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA), Ministry of Defence, was released on the 1st April 2011 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. The Ministry of Defence has published the following casualty figures for Operation HERRICK. These figures are updated every two weeks, two weeks in arrears.   [Afghanistan]  back to the top

Suicide and Open Verdict Deaths in the UK Regular Armed Forces
The latest National Statistic on suicides and open verdict deaths among the UK Armed Forces, produced by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA), Ministry of Defence, was released on 31 March 2011 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. It includes both coroner-confirmed suicides and open verdict deaths in line with the definition used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the publication of National Statistics. In accordance with ONS practice, throughout this notice, the term 'suicide' should be understood to include all suicide and open verdict deaths. There is a link to download the complete report.   [Suicide and Open Verdict Deaths]  back to the top

AFCAS - Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey Main Results
Libya: Coalition bombing may be in breach of UN resolution's legal limits
Legal expert warns that forces led by Britain, France and the US face 'a moment of danger' in justifying latest strikes. [Guardian, 28 March 2011]
See also:  [Targeting Gaddafi is allowed by UN resolution]  back to the top

Libya. The Observer debate: Is it right to be intervening in Libya's struggle for freedom?
Peter Preston, Abdelkader Benali and other expert voices on North Africa argue for and against military action.  [The Observer, 27 March 2011]  back to the top

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 - No-Fly Zone and Airstrikes authorised against Libya
Adopting resolution 1973 (2011) by a vote of 10 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russian Federation), the Council authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory , requesting them to immediately inform the Secretary-General of such measures. [Read the full text]  back to the top

Case of R-v-Dinnel
Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece)
ICJ Hearing during week commencing 21 March: The Applicant contends that in accordance with Article 11, paragraph 1, of the Interim Accord, Greece "has undertaken a binding obligation under international law" and that this provision lays down that Greece shall "not . . . object to the application by or the membership of [the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] in international, multilateral and regional organizations and institutions of which [Greece] is a member"; the text provides however that Greece "reserves the right to object to any membership referred to above if and to the extent [the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] is to be referred to in such organization or institution differently than in paragraph 2 of the United Nations Security Council resolution 817 (1993)", i.e., as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".  back to the top

The Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions (Amendment) Order 2011
This Order amends the Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 2006 ("the principal Order") which makes provision for pensions and other awards in respect of disablement or death due to service before 6th April 2005 in the naval, military and air forces. Articles 2 and 3 substitute Tables in Schedules 1 and 2 to the principal Order thereby varying the rates of retired pay, pensions, gratuities and allowances in respect of disablement or death due to service in the armed forces. [Access Here]  back to the top

Armed Forces Bill 2010-11
First Joint Russian-U.S. report on Cyber Conflict
The EastWest Institute released the first joint Russian-American report aimed at defining the "rules of the road" for cyber conflict. Prepared by a team of Russian and U.S. experts convened by EWI, Working Towards Rules for Governing Cyber Conflict: Rendering the Geneva and Hague Conventions in Cyberspace explores how to extend the humanitarian principles that govern war to cyberspace.     [Access here, 3 Feb 2011]   back to the top

MPs clash on forces pensions
Veterans minister Andrew Robathan has said he is 'angry' that the UK's financial situation is 'damaging our armed forces' and led to changes that will reduce forces pensions.     [Defence Management, 1 Feb 2011]   back to the top

Putting Complementarity into Practice
Domestic Justice for International Crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo , Uganda , and Kenya - Wars and mass violence regularly leave thousands of people raped or killed in their wake. National justice systems are meant to take the lead in bringing perpetrators to justice. But legal systems are often unable to do so because of armed conflict, corruption, or inadequate investment. Moreover, the enthusiasm of political leaders to bring high-level suspects to justice is often lacking. At the same time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot deal with all the international crimes that take place around the world. Indeed, the ICC was founded on the idea of "complementarity" (that the ICC can only step in when states are unwilling or unable to prosecute mass crimes. Increasingly, the global community is starting to realize that other actors) donor states, civil society, international organizations­ must assume greater responsibility to make sure these crimes do not go unpunished.     [An Open Society Justice Initiative report]   back to the top

US: House votes to repeal ban on gays in military
The US House of Representatives has voted to repeal a ban on openly gay men and women serving in the US military. [16 December 2010]  back to the top

Diving belles! Wrens set to serve on Navy submarines... and they'll get their own bunks to avoid 'hot-bedding' with the men
It is one of the last great all- Below: Hot-bedding male bastions in Britain's Armed Forces with a proud tradition stretching back more than 100 years. [Mail, 4 December]  back to the top

UK infantry ban on women soldiers remains, MoD rules
Women are to remain barred from close-combat roles in the UK armed forces. [29 November 2010]  back to the top

War crimes charges against military interrogators would put MoD on trial
Human rights lawyer in high court action that aims to force an inquiry into 'systematic abuse' of detainees in Iraq. The revelation that a number of members of a secretive British military intelligence unit could face war crimes charges threatens to put the Ministry of Defence's entire interrogation regime on trial.    [9 November 2010]  back to the top

Military Investigations 'Fail Rape Victims'
A Channel 4 News investigation has discovered that the conviction rate for rape investigations in the military justice system is less than half that of the civilian system. [17 October 2010]  back to the top

Military justice system reforms 02 Nov 10
As new investigations start into allegations of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq does the system need to reform? Joshua Rozenberg looks at the issue of military justice. [Podcast 2 November]  back to the top

Coroners and Justice Act 2009
In force from 4 October 2010, Sections 52-55 of this Act abolish the defence of provocation in murder, replacing it with a partial defence known as "loss of control". The defence of Diminished responsibility is also significantly amended.  back to the top

Report of the Committee of independent experts in international humanitarian and human rights laws to monitor and assess any domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side, in the light of General Assembly resolution 64/254, including the independence, effectiveness, genuineness of these investigations and their conformity with international standards
This report is submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to its resolution 13/9. The Committee concluded that the dual role of the Military Advocate General (MAG) to provide legal advice to IDF with respect to the planning and execution of "Operation Cast Lead" and to conduct all prosecutions of alleged misconduct by Israeli Defence Force soldiers during the operations in Gaza raises a conflict of interest. This bears on whether the MAG can be truly impartial ­ and, equally important, be seen to be truly impartial ­ in investigating these serious allegations. Human Rights Council: Report, 21 September 2010 .   back to the top

Human Rights Joint Committee - First Report
Serious, sustained allegations that the UK has received information from countries which routinely use torture, or has been more actively complicit in torture carried out by others, puts the UK's international reputation as an upholder of human rights and the rule of law on the line. Government Response to the Committee's Second Report of Session 2009-10, 15 September 2010 .   back to the top

Defence Committee - First Report
The Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies. In view of the speed with which the SDSR is being conducted, the Committee was compelled to report to the House as soon as possible. This Report sets out, albeit only in summary, its understanding of the process and the anxieties about that process, and about the relationship between the SDSR and the CSR. [Report, 7 September 2010]  back to the top

Defence Committee - First Special Report
The Comprehensive Approach: the point of war is not just to win but to make a better peace: Government response to the Committee's Seventh Report of Session 2009-10. [added on 3 September 2010]  back to the top

Implementation of section 144 and Schedule 17 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 - Circular 2010/12
The purpose of this circular is to inform criminal justice professionals and any other interested parties that the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Commencement No.5) Order 2010 (SI 2010 No.1858 (C.94)) brings section 144 and Schedule 17 (Treatment of convictions in other member States etc) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 into force in England and Wales on 15 August 2010. An EU conviction will be taken into account if the offence would also have been an offence in the UK if it had been done here at the time of the trial of the defendant for the current offence. Paragraph 11 of Schedule 17, amends section 263 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, (Explanatory Notes paragraph 646), concerning restriction on imposing a custodial sentence or service detention on an unrepresented offender. Explanatory Notes are available on-line. [2 August 2010]  back to the top

Al- Sweady Public Inquiry
In a written statement given on Wednesday 25 November 2009, the Secretary of State for Defence announced that there would be a public inquiry in to the allegations that Iraqi nationals were detained after a firefight with British soldiers in Iraq in 2004 and unlawfully killed at a British camp, and that others had been mistreated at that camp and later at a detention facility. The Inquiry is established under the Inquiries Act 2005 and is chaired by the Sir Thayne Forbes, a retired High Court judge.    [Visit the web site]   back to the top

Kosovo Advisory Opinion: Unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo
The ICJ was asked by the General Assembly to assess the accordance of Kosovo's declaration of independence of 17 February 2008 with "international law" (resolution 63/3 of the General Assembly, 8 October 2008). Several participants have invoked resolutions of the Security Council condemning particular declarations of independence: see, inter alia, Security Council resolutions 216 (1965) and 217 (1965), concerning Southern Rhodesia; Security Council resolution 541 (1983), concerning northern Cyprus; and Security Council resolution 787 (1992), concerning the Republika Srpska. the illegality attached to the declarations of independence thus stemmed not from the unilateral character of these declarations as such, but from the fact that they were, or would have been, connected with the unlawful use of force or other egregious violations of norms of general international law, in particular those of a peremptory character (jus cogens). In the context of Kosovo, the Security Council has never taken this position. The exceptional character of the resolutions enumerated above appeared to the Court to confirm that no general prohibition against unilateral declarations of independence may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council. Held: By 10 votes to 4, the declaration of independence of Kosovo adopted on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law.    [Kosovo Advisory Opinion of the ICJ, 22 January 2010]   back to the top

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme - Amendment
The changes are to extend the time limit to make a claim for injury or illness from five to seven years. This ensures anyone who wishes to make a claim for compensation for an injury or illness that has arisen since the scheme was introduced in 2005 can still make a claim. There is also an increase in the maximum level of bereavement grant from £20,000 to £25,000 (£37,500 for reservists); and an uplift of the majority of awards for hearing loss by one tariff level.   [Hansard Statement, Wednesday 21 July 2010]   back to the top

Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) made an Order on 6 July 2010 on a counter-claim submitted by Italy in its Counter-Memorial in the case concerning Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy). By that Order, the Court, by thirteen votes to one, "[f]inds that the counter-claim presented by Italy . . . is inadmissible as such and does not form part of the current proceedings" and, unanimously, authorizes Germany to submit a Reply and Italy to submit a Rejoinder and fixes 14 October 2010 and 14 January 2011, respectively, as the time-limits for the filing of those pleadings. The subsequent procedure has been reserved for further decision. The Court first observes that the dispute that Italy intends to submit by way of counter-claim relates to the existence and the scope of the obligation of Germany to make reparation to certain Italian victims of serious violations of humanitarian law committed by Nazi Germany between 1943 and 1945, rather than to the violations themselves. Those violations are not the source or "real cause" of the dispute. Consequently, those violations are not the "facts or situations to which the dispute in question relates"....[read more]   back to the top

Submissions to the Baha Musa Inquiry, on behalf of the detainees
A former Army commanding officer has been accused of lying to a public inquiry into the death of an Iraqi civilian in his soldiers' custody. Colonel Jorge Mendonca said he saw nothing out of the ordinary when he checked on hotel worker Baha Mousa and his colleagues after their 2003 arrest. But Rabinder Singh QC, counsel for Mr Mousa's family, questioned his account of events in Basra, southern Iraq. He told the inquiry he must have not visited or had seen a "horrific scene". (19 July 2010).[Baha Musa Inquiry]
[BBC News, 19 July 2010]
See also:  [Colonel accused of lying to inquiry]  back to the top

Armed Forces (Leave) Bill 2010-11
A Bill to provide that leave for members of the armed forces serving overseas should be calculated from the time an individual arrives back in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes. [Latest news on the Bill] (added 7 July 2010).  back to the top

Iraq inquiry publishes legal advice to Blair on war
The Iraq inquiry has released details of the legal advice given to Tony Blair prior to the invasion of Iraq after the documents were de-classified. Copies of the draft legal advice given by former attorney general Lord Goldsmith was previously kept secret despite calls for it to be published. [Download here] (added 1 July 2010).
See also the advice of 7th March 2003. (added 18 May 2011)  back to the top

Popovic et al. ('Srebrenica') Judgement To Be Rendered On 10 June 2010
The Judgement in the case of Popovic' and others, involving six Bosnian Serb military officers and one Bosnian Serb special police officer, accused of crimes in Eastern Bosnia in 1995, is scheduled to be rendered on Thursday, 10 June at 10:00 in Courtroom III.
The indictment describes the large-scale murder of Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica after its fall to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. It states that the implementation of the joint criminal enterprise to murder resulted in the summary execution of over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the Srebrenica enclave and that by 1 November 1995 the entire Muslim population had been either removed or had fled from Srebrenica and Zepa. An information sheet providing a review of the case can be found at: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/popovic/cis/en/cis_popovic_al_en.pdf   back to the top

Boskoski & Tarèulovski Appeals Judgement 19 May 2010
The Appeals Chamber today affirmed the conviction of Johan Tarèulovski, a former police officer of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for having ordered, planned and instigated crimes committed against ethnic Albanians during a police operation conducted on 12 August 2001 in the village of Ljuboten in the northern part of the FYROM. His sentence of 12 years' imprisonment was upheld. The Appeals Chamber also affirmed the acquittal of Ljube Boskoski, Minister of Interior of the FYROM from May 2001 until November 2002.
[Summary of Appeal Chamber Judgment]
[The Trial Chamber judgement]   back to the top

Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010
An Act to make provision for giving effect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, creating a number of offences. [Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010]   back to the top

Ministry of Defence: Treating injury and illness arising on military operations
Committee of Public Accounts report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. The main challenge the Department faces, should casualties increase significantly, is to ensure that all military patients will receive the same standard of care they currently experience at Selly Oak and Headley Court. The Department does not have sufficiently detailed and robust contingency plans should Selly Oak become full. Injured military personnel should be treated in a military environment which is suitable for their needs. Read the report, [Twenty-seventh Report of Session 2009-10]   back to the top

Senate report slams Blackwater unit
An investigation into a unit of security contractor Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, shows the company didn't properly vet the people it hired for a training contract in Afghanistan, employees recklessly used firearms they weren't authorized to have and the Army didn't provide sufficient oversight of those contractors when mistakes were reported, according to a statement released Tuesday by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich. [Army Times, Wednesday Feb 24, 2010]  back to the top

Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has directed the submission of a Reply by the Republic of Croatia and a Rejoinder by the Republic of Serbia in respect of the claims presented by the Parties in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia). Press Release No. 2010/3, 18 February 2010  back to the top

Review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme - Cmd 7798
A major review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme started in summer 2009. This paper is the result. The review committee has concluded that the basic principles of the scheme set up from April 2006 by the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2005 SI 2005/439 are sound. However it proposes significant changes to the method for assessing amounts payable under the Guaranteed Income Stream (GIS) where there is a loss of earnings capacity because of severe injury. It also proposes increases in lump sum payments (last increased on 15th December 2008 by the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) (Amendment No. 3) Order 2008, SI 2008/2942). The salary on which the GIS is, based on will be changed to reflect the average number of promotions the person could expect to receive and the fact that most people will work until 65 rather than 55. The MoD has issued an explanatory leaflet and a press release outlining the results of the review. Command Paper 7798 (acknowlegment to emplaw.co.uk).  back to the top

Did the Foreign Office legal adviser mis-state the law?
A number of remarkable facts leap out from the testimony at the Chilcot inquiry of the former Foreign Office legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood. The least interesting of these is that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, changed his mind about the legality of the war without a second UN resolution, a fact which was long suspected. This is widely supposed to mean that he was leaned on to mis-state the case for war. On the contrary " it is clear that the 'illegal war' Goldsmith mark one was wrong, while the 'legal war' Goldsmith mark two was correct. This article is from the [Spectator, 26th January 2010]. back to the top

Adaptability and Partnership: Issues for the Strategic Defence Review (Command Paper Cm 7794)
This Green Paper does not attempt to answer the fundamental question of the role we want the United Kingdom to play in the world and how much the nation is prepared to pay for security and defence. Rather it opens discussion and sets out our emerging thinking on this and other key issues for Defence. Where possible it seeks to begin to build consensus; and in writing the Paper, consultation took place with academics, opposition parties and across government. Download the Paper hereback to the top

Rape case to force US defence firms into the open
Senate passes measure prompted by case of woman prevented from suing over alleged rape by Halliburton/KBR colleagues. US defence firms are to be barred from lucrative government contracts if they refuse to allow employees access to the courts, after a woman working for a Halliburton subsidiary in Iraq was prevented from taking legal action over an alleged gang rape by fellow workers.
See: [Guardian, 15 October 2009back to the top

Australian Courts-Martial ruled unconstitutional
Aspals readers might be interested in a slight crisis that has hit the Australian Court-Martial system recently. In the case of Lane, the Australian High Court declared the new Australian Military Court (AMC), the centrepiece of military justice reforms, to be unconstitutional. Lane, a former sailor, was charged with indecent assault for placing his genitals on a sleeping colleague's forehead - a practice known as "teabagging" - after a drunken night out in 2005. He denied the charge and fought it all the way to the High Court.
Background:  Due to concerns that the Australian military justice system was not striking the right balance between the requirements of the armed forces on the one hand, and the rights of its personnel on the other, it was reformed in 2006. However, in doing so, the Australian government rejected the recommendation of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee to create the military court under Chapter III. The AMC was created in 2006 by the inclusion of section 114 in Division 3 of Part VII of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1984 (Cth) (the Act). Section 114 states:
"(1) A court, to be known as the Australian Military Court, is created by this Act.
Note 1: The AMC is not a court for the purpose of Ch III of the Constitution.
(1A) The AMC is a court of record."

The effect of section 114 was to discard the court-martial process and to create in its place the AMC which would have the jurisdiction to determine military justice issues. The problem was, however, that the judicial power identified in Chapter III of the Constitution is that of the Commonwealth and the powers to create federal courts are found in sections 71, 72 and 122. It was for that reason, in a unanimous verdict, the High Court held that the provisions of Division 3 of Part VII of the Act were constitutionally invalid. French CJ and Gummow J held that the AMC was intended to be a Court under Chapter III but was not created under Chapter III, and section 51(vi) does not allow for military jurisdiction under a "legislative" court. The Court rejected the Commonwealth's submission that the AMC, as a replacement for the court-martial system, was merely a "modernisation" of terminology and not a matter of substance.
Consequences:  Quite apart from the unusual circumstances of Australia not currently having a military tribunal, there is a clear question over the validity of the decisions made by the AMC since it was convened in October 2007. The Government has enacted legislation to reinstate the pre-2007 machinery as an interim measure while it determines the construction of a military justice system that meets the requirements of the Constitution.
For more information, please see the following links:
  1. Mondaq, Government & Public Sector
  2. Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Aug 2009
  3. Military Justice
4th October 2009 (from the News Page) back to the top

Human Rights Joint Committee - Twenty-Fourth Report (Closing the Impunity Gap: UK law on genocide and related crimes)
International conventions allow and in some cases oblige the Government to give our courts criminal jurisdiction over the world's most heinous crimes, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, and hostage-taking. However, the Government has chosen not to implement those conventions to the full extent possible, leaving inconsistencies and gaps in the law. These gaps effectively provide impunity to international criminals, allowing them to visit and in some cases stay in the UK without fear of prosecution... [Report printed 11 August 2009]. back to the top

Human Rights Joint Committee - Twenty-Third Report (Allegations of UK Complicity in Torture)
There have been a number of reports that UK security services have been complicit in the torture of UK nationals held in Pakistan and elsewhere. In this report the Committee examines what it means for a state to be complicit in torture. The Committee has the power to require the submission of written evidence and documents, to examine witnesses, to meet at any time (except when Parliament is prorogued or dissolved), to adjourn from place to place, to appoint specialist advisers, and to make Reports to both Houses. The Lords Committee has power to agree with the Commons in the appointment of a Chairman. [Report printed 21 July 2009]. back to the top

Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces: the first year - Eighth Report of Session 2008⁄09
The Defence Committee has had a long-standing interest in the Service complaints system. In this inquiry the effectiveness of the current Service complaints procedures is examined based on the findings of the Service Complaints Commissioner in her first annual report. The Commissioner's evaluation of the support given to her by the Ministry of Defence during the year is also examined. [Report printed 23 June 2009]. back to the top

Report of the thematic review of the quality of prosecution advocacy and case presentation
This thematic review of CPS advocacy and case presentation was undoubtedly one of the most important and also the most sensitive which HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate has undertaken. It was inevitable that the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that it would progressively undertake more of its own advocacy in the Crown Court would prove contentious, particularly in relation to the Bar. ................................[On-line Report - July 2009].  back to the top

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
Progress towards implementation of custody provisions Second Report - July 2009. It provides Parliament with a second update on the progress that is being made towards implementation of section 2(1)(d) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which makes the duty of care a custody provider owes to a person who is detained a relevant duty of care for the purposes of the Act. This section was not commenced when the rest of the Act came into force on 6 April 2008, but the Government has committed to commence these provisions within three to five years of 6 April 2008. ...............................[Second Report - July 2009].  back to the top

Defence Committee - Tenth Report: Russia: a new confrontation?
It is difficult to consider the future of NATO and the global security challenges it faces without taking account of Russia. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that there is a risk of a new Cold War emerging as a result of Russia's increasingly assertive foreign policy. It was against this backdrop that it was decided to launch an inquiry. The title Russia: a new confrontation? encapsulated the uncertain relations between the West and Russia that was at the heart of the inquiry, and the Report serves as a guide to future defence policy for the UK and NATO. ...............................[Report on-line].  back to the top

Defence Plan 2008 to 2012
The Defence Plan sets out the key performance priorities of the Defence Board (DB) for the financial years 2008/09 to 2012/13. It provides the overarching context for all the Department's lower -level plans.
The Plan has four sections - purpose or outputs, the future, enabling processes and resources - reflecting the four perspectives' of the Defence Balanced Scorecard, to emphasise that only by delivering against the objectives set out in each of these four sections will the MOD deliver the vision of defending the UK and its interests, strengthening international peace and stability and acting as a force for good in the world.
Please note that this plan includes the Governments Expenditure Plans   [Defence Plan 2008 to 2012]
[Defence Plan 2008 (PDF 803.2 KB)]  back to the top

ICTY Appeals Chamber Affirms Dragan Jokic's Contempt of Court Conviction
The Appeals Chamber affirmed the contempt of court conviction of former Bosnian Serb Army officer Dragan Jokic who was earlier this year sentenced to four months' imprisonment for refusing to testify in the case of Popovic and others. Jokic will serve his four-month sentence in Austria to run consecutively to the war crimes sentence he is already serving there. ...............................[Full Judgment], 3 July 2009.  back to the top

Defence Committee - Seventh Report
Concerning the examination of the Defence Support Group (DSG) established to support the Armed Forces and to deliver wider defence objectives in support of the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS).   [Defence Committee - Seventh Report on-line]  back to the top

Army chiefs in Afghanistan cannot be sued for death of their troops
Commanding officers in Afghanistan have been offered indemnity from prosecution under human-rights laws if they make a decision that leads to the death of a soldier. The move is to address widespread concern that officers might face private prosecution if a military operation goes wrong.    [Times, 15 June, 2009 ]  back to the top

Courts rule British soldiers covered by right to life
Army chiefs can be sued over decisions taken in the heat of battle after a Court of Appeal ruling that troops must be protected by the Human Rights Act. The judgment by Sir Anthony Clarke, the Master of the Rolls, and two other judges, makes the Ministry of Defence liable to civil prosecutions by families who claim that the treatment of soldiers who have died on operations overseas might have breached their human rights.    [Times, May 19, 2009 ]
See also:&nbsp:[Telegraph, 19 May 2009back to the top

Human Rights Joint Committee - Thirteenth Report, Prisoner Transfer Treaty with Libya
The Joint Committee on Human Rights is appointed by the House of Lords and the House of Commons to consider matters relating to human rights in the United Kingdom (but excluding consideration of individual cases); proposals for remedial orders, draft remedial orders and remedial orders. [Read the Report on-line]  back to the top

Getting Away with Torture?
This 95-page report, issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos, presents substantial evidence warranting criminal investigations of Rumsfeld and Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller the former commander of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [Human Rights Watch]  back to the top

Committee On Armed Services United States Senate Inquiry Into The Treatment Of Detainees In U.S. Custody
Over the course of its inquiry into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody, the Committee reviewed more than 200,000 pages of classified and unclassified documents, including detention and interrogation policies, memoranda, electronic communications, training manuals, and the results of previous investigations into detainee abuse. The majority of those documents were provided to the Committee by the Department of Defense. The Committee also reviewed documents provided by the Department of Justice, documents in the public domain, a small number of documents provided by individuals, and a number of published secondary sources including books and articles in popular magazines and scholarly journals. The Committee interviewed over 70 individuals in connection with its inquiry. [Read the Report] (please note this file is over 15MB in size and will take some time to download). back to the top

The International Headquarters and Defence Organisations (Designation and Privileges) (Amendment) Order 2009 - SI No. 704
In force since 19th March 2009. This Order amends the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations (Designation and Privileges) Order 1965 ("the 1965 Order") by substituting a new Schedule to that Order. The Schedule to the 1965 Order lists those headquarters which are designated for the purposed of the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Act 1964. Part I of the Schedule lists those headquarters which also benefit from the privileges and immunities conferred by article 3 (inviolability of archives), article 4 (legal capacity) and article 5 (immunity from legal process) of the 1965 Order. Those headquarters listed in Part II only benefit from article 3 (inviolability of archives)..... ...............................[Read on-line].  back to the top

Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate's follow-up report on The Army Prosecuting Authority - February 2009
The report details the findings of Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) arising from a follow-up inspection of the Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) in November 2008. The APA is responsible for the review and prosecution of cases referred to it for trial by court martial in respect of persons subject to military law who are accused of a criminal offence.... ...............................[Executive Summary].
[Full Report]. back to the top

UN accuses Britain of condoning torture
Britain has been condemned in a highly critical United Nations report for breaching basic human rights and "trying to conceal illegal acts" in the fight against terrorism. The report is sharply critical of British co-operation in the transfer of detainees to places where they are likely to be tortured as part of the US rendition programme... ...............................[Guardian, 9 March]
[Read the Report].  back to the top

The Pensions (Polish Forces) Scheme (Amendment) Order 2009
The Pensions (Polish Forces) Scheme 1964 ("the Scheme") provides for benefits to be payable to or in respect of former members of the Polish Forces who served under British command during World War II, or in the Polish Resettlement Forces.. ...............................[SI 2009 No. 436].  back to the top

Report on MoD's Chinook helicopter programme
The Public Accounts Committee publishes a report examining the MoD's programme to make airworthy eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters and criticises "bad decision-making to the point of irresponsibility". ...............................[Available from here].  back to the top

Defence Committee publish equipment report
The failure of the MoD to update the UK's Defence Industrial Strategy has been condemned by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee in its report, released 26 February 2009, into Defence Equipment. Link hereback to the top

Records of Detention (Review Conclusions)
Parliamentary statement by The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton) Link hereback to the top

Forces Widows Pensions (Equality of Treatment) Bill 2008-09
This Bill was presented, through the ballot procedure, to Parliament on 21 January. This is known as First Reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage. The Bill is a Private Member's Bill and, as such, unlikely to be printed until close to a Second Reading debate. If you want information about the Bill before it is printed then you would need to speak to the Member sponsoring the Bill. This Bill will be on the Order Paper for a Second Reading debate on 19 June. It is described as a Bill to provide for the equal treatment of forces widows' pensions in respect of retirement from military service for the periods before 1973 and between 1973 and 2005; and for connected purposes. ...............................[Latest news].  back to the top

Binyam Mohamed - Commons Statement
Hansard report of the statement made by The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown) referring to the Written Ministerial Statement of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband). ...............................[Lord Malloch-Brown].  back to the top

Nelson's Frigates of the Line
A musical tribute to Admiral Lord Nelson, killed by a French marksman at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. The words were written by Ray Butler and the music composed by Dave Nachmanoff, a singer/songwriter and guitarist (he is Al Stewart's guitarist). It recently made it to the semi-finals of the UK Songwriting Contest. Learn more about Dave Nachmanoff and his music by visiting his website here. ...............................[Listen to the song here].  back to the top

Human Rights Committee challenges ministers over torture allegations
Andrew Dismore MP, Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights has written to the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary and the Attorney General on behalf of the Committee raising the Committee's serious concerns over the recent allegations of complicity of UK agents in torture overseas. ...............................[UK Parliament].  back to the top

Forces Widows' Pensions (Equality of Treatment) Bill - Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)
Mr. Michael Mates, supported by Mr. Bruce George, Sir Menzies Campbell, Patrick Mercer, Mr. Michael Clapham, Nick Harvey, Sir Peter Viggers, Simon Hughes and Sir Michael Spicer, presented a Bill to provide for the equal treatment of forces widows' pensions in respect of retirement from military service for the periods before 1973 and between 1973 and 2005; and for connected purposes. ...............................[UK Parliament].  back to the top

Defence Committee - Second Report
The published report was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 16 December 2008. The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies. [Link here.]. back to the top

Bruce Houlder, QC, the top criminal silk taking on the Armed Forces
When appointed the first civilian in charge of military prosecutions, Bruce Houlder, QC, faced accusations that he would "let our boys hang out to dry". Others said that he had been put in post to "whitewash the crimes of the military". Houlder, who took over on January 1 as the independent Director of Service Prosecutions for all three Armed Forces, is determined to prove that he can steer a middle course. [Times, 8 January 2009].
See also: [Times Comment, 2 Jan 09back to the top

The Manual Of The Law Of Armed Conflict (Joint Services Publication 383) — Amended Text
Amendments made in 2007 to the published editions of the Manual Of The Law Of Armed Conflict are available for free download here. (Thanks to Will for the information).  back to the top

Black Rod: Another military man for the job
Lieutenant-General Sir Freddie Viggers KCB CMG MBE as the next Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, in succession to Sir Michael Willcocks, who will retire in May 2009. Details here.  back to the top

Armed Forces: Snatch Land Rover Statement
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence quoted John Hutton as saying that a public inquiry into the continued use of Snatch landrovers would not be the right way to proceed. "I have sought comprehensive advice on whether the continued use of Snatch is necessary, particularly given the substantial investment that we have made in new protected vehicles in recent years. The clear advice to me from military operational commanders, unanimously endorsed by the Chiefs of Staff, is that Snatch remains essential to the success of our operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In the light of this authoritative assessment, I have decided that it would be inappropriate and unnecessary to conduct an inquiry. These are matters on which I must rely on the considered judgment of military commanders who have experience of conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and access to specialised military engineering expertise. " Access on-line.  back to the top

Call for independent public inquiry into the use of the Snatch Land Rover
Petition the Prime Minister to call upon Defence Secretary John Hutton to instigate an independent public inquiry into the use of the Snatch Land Rover in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Submitted by Susan Smith of MFSG. Deadline to sign up by: 20 January 2009  back to the top

MOD harmonises Armed Forces inquiries
A new tri-Service system of Service Inquiries, conducted by the Armed Forces into deaths and serious injuries and incidents, was introduced on Wednesday 1 October 2008, replacing the existing Single Service Boards of Inquiry (BOIs).[read more....back to the top

Need for a Bill of Rights
There currently exists an unusual cross-party consensus about the need for a "British Bill of Rights". In its Governance of Britain Green Paper (July 2007) and the Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons on 3 July 2007, the Government committed itself to exploring the possibility of a British Bill of Rights as part of a wider programme of constitutional reform. The Conservative Party had previously announced that it proposes to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) with a British Bill of Rights whilst remaining a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and has appointed a Commission of experts to consider how to achieve this. The Liberal Democrats have reiterated their longstanding commitment to a Bill of Rights as part of a written constitution for the UK. ....[read more....back to the top

Joint Committee on Human Rights - Twenty-Eighth Report
The Committee had been concerned enought in 2004 to write to the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Adam Ingram, over Methods of physical and psychological coercion that had been used by British interrogators to obtain confessions and extract information. One of the issues raised concerned the possible use of five 'conditioning techniques' - wall standing, hooding, subjection to noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and drink - in interrogation. The use of these techniques was prohibited by the Government in 1972, following allegations about their use in Northern Ireland. In the case of Ireland v UK in 1978, the European Court on Human Rights found that the combined use of the five techniques amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment. During court proceedings, in 1977, Sir Samuel Silkin, the then Attorney General, gave an "unqualified undertaking" that "the five techniques will not in any circumstances be reintroduced as an aid to interrogation". In its 28th Report, the Committee voiced concerns over Discrepancies in evidence received.  back to the top

UK Armed Forces MoneySaving
A new MoneySavingExpert.com's Forum dedicated to the Armed Forces, created to look at issues that are specific to members of the forces. Whether it be getting goods delivered overseas, the difficulty of getting life coverage, what's available when leaving the forces, specific discounts and how to get back to civilian life. This is a fantastic site with lots of really useful tips. Link to it hereback to the top

The Naval Medical Compassionate Fund (Amendment) Order 2008
This Order amends the Standing Orders and Regulations of the Naval Medical Compassionate Fund in order to provide for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity to be appointed as sole Trustee of the Fund (Articles 1 and 2) and makes minor and consequential amendments to the Standing Orders and Regulations. The Order ensures that at least one member of the Fund's Management Committee represents the interests of the Royal Naval Medical Service (Article 5). Link to it here. Also listed on the Links pageback to the top

The Armed Forces (Service Complaints) (Consequential Amendments) Order 2008 (Draft Order)
The Working Time Regulations 1998, the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 provide that a complaint cannot be presented by a member of the armed forces to an employment tribunal under those Regulations unless a complaint under service complaint procedures has been made about the same matter and not withdrawn. Consequent upon the Armed Forces Act 2006 this Order amends those Regulations so that they refer to service complaints brought under that Act: The Armed Forces (Service Complaints) (Consequential Amendments) Order 2008 back to the top

Civilian QC chosen to run military court despite MPs push for specialist candidate
A civilian lawyer with no experience of the military has been appointed to take charge of courts martial against British soldiers. A committee of MPs urged the Ministry of Defence to give the job of overseeing the military justice system to a candidate with specialist knowledge of the forces and an understanding of the pressures of combat. Instead, the £130,000-a-year role of Director of Service Prosecutions has gone to Bruce Houlder, QC, a criminal law barrister with no experience of the forces and no specialisation in military justice.
For an interesting discussion, see the Select Committee on Armed Forces First Report where the MoD representative said, "Whilst we appreciate the difficulties involved in defining military experience in statute, we do consider it important for the Director of Service Prosecutions to have had military experience."
The parliamentary discussion on the Armed Forces (Alignment of Service Discipline Acts) (No.2) Order 2008 is very worthwhile reading and shows the confusion over the appointment of DSPA. back to the top

The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (Application to the Armed Forces) Order 2008
Several years after the statutory provisions replaced the common law rules on disclosure of material to the defence, the provisions are being applied to the Services. Access this on-line from the the Aspals Links page. back to the top

The Aitken Report
An investigation into cases of deliberate abuse and unlawful killing in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. It focuses solely on those instances where members of the British Army are alleged or proven to have mistreated Iraqi civilians outside the context of immediate combat operations. It seeks to explain what happened in each case, and to describe the context in which they occurred; but its principal purpose is to detail the measures the Army has taken to ensure (as far as possible) that they are not repeated. It makes deductions based on evidence from official reports, court judgments and interviews. Because inquiries are not yet complete into all the cases with which this report is concerned, it also recommends other areas that will need to be addressed by further work. Read it on-line hereback to the top

R-v-Payne and others
The Crown's opening, charge-sheet and judge's ruling on reporting restrictions are to be found on the website at this page.  [Posted: 22/x/06]
News items relating to 1 QLR War Crimes Trial  1 QLR Case. back to the top

A catalogue of abuse
What will it take for our government to face the awful facts of British detention policy in Iraq? Evidence now publicly available proves that UK forces had a systematic policy that led to the execution of scores of Iraqis in detention, and the torture of countless more. But most people remain blissfully unaware of the truth, while the government chooses to ignore it. It seems that it is too painful for the nation to recognise that what we did in Iraq is no more than what we have always done in times of conflict, and that an arrogant, brutal racism that harks back to colonial times requires urgent exorcism.   [Guardian, 19 Oct]    [Posted: 22/x/06]  back to the top

Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007
   This long anticipated act will come into force in accordance with provision made by order by the Secretary of State. It abolishes the common law offence of manslaughter by gross negligence and applies to the naval, military or air forces of the Crown raised under the law of the United Kingdom. Certain "Military activities" are exempted under section 4. Link to on-line here. ..............................[3/viii/07]      back to the top

RAF clerk gets £484,000 for typing injury
   A clerk in the RAF has been paid £484,000 compensation for an RSI-style wrist injury - nearly NINE TIMES what a soldier would get if his leg was blown off in action. The scandalous payout, which will astonish troops who have been mutilated in Iraq and Afghanistan, went to an unnamed typist in her twenties who developed the strain in her right hand. She had been inputting Royal Air Force data and medical experts judged her work-related injury would prevent her finding a new job. ..............................[News of the World, 29 Jul]      back to the top

HMCSPI Report into the Army Prosecuting Authority
The HMCPS Inspectorate report into the Army Prosecuting Authority is available from the APA website at this link.    back to the top

EU makes it against law to condone genocide
His Honour Major-General Sir David Hughes-Morgan, Bt, CB, CBE
Sir David, a former Director Army Legal Services, died on 15 July 2006, aged 80. His intellectual acuity and warmth of personality shall be greatly missed. His obituary can be read hereAspals. [Posted: 21/vii/06] back to the top

Selman and others - Army verdict throws up questions
Quite apart from the unanswered aspects surrounding the death of a young Iraqi, the "not guilty" verdict throws up another series of questions. (This item was published by the BBC on 7 JuneAspals. [Posted: 16/vii/06] back to the top

In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others - Lords Questions
Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government a number of questions about the case and the decision to prosecute. The government response was given by the Attorney General   Aspals. [Posted: 3/vii/06] back to the top

Armed Forces Ombudsman
In a written answer on 22 June, the Under Secretary of State says there are no plans to conduct a survery of members of the services on this matter. Link hereAspals. [Posted: 25/vi/06] back to the top

British Armed Forces Federation
A website dedicated to the federation designed to protect the rights of servicemen. Aspals. [Posted: 4/vi/06] back to the top

Report To The President: Death Of Slobodan Milosevic, by Judge Kevin Parker
Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell at the United Nations Detention Unit in the Scheveningen Penitentiary Facility on Saturday morning, 11 March 2006. By order made that day, pursuant to Rule 33 of the Rules of Detention, the President of the Court assigned Judge Kevin Parker to conduct a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death and to report his findings. The terms of inquiry were without restriction. This report is available hereAspals. [Posted: 31/v/06] back to the top

Armed Forces: Joint Strike Fighter
Written answer to the question whether the United Kingdom would be required by European Union treaty obligations to hand over to other European Union member states technology communicated to the United Kingdom by the United States following concerns raised by the Chairman of the Committee on International Relations of the United States House of Representatives, available here.  Aspals. [Posted: 30/v/06] back to the top

The Armed Forces Early Departure Payments Scheme Order 2005
Information about entitlements when membership of the armed forces ceases, available here.  Aspals. [Posted: 23/iv/06] back to the top

Highland lament: Scotland's oldest regiments march into history
It was out with the old and in with the new yesterday as six Scottish infantry regiments were consigned to military history. While Black Watch veterans, wearing the red hackle, lamented the loss of their 267-year-old regiment, serving soldiers wore the cap and badge of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland for the first time. .... [Telegraph].  [Posted: 29/iii/06] back to the top

High Court judge to hear 'war crime' case
The court martial of Col Jorge Mendonca and six other servicemen charged in connection with the death of an Iraqi civilian will be conducted by a High Court judge, it has been announced. Mr Justice McKinnon, 67, a highly experienced trial judge who hears civil and criminal cases, has been assigned to the men's trial.  [Posted: 23/iii/06] back to the top

Law and Development Work at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law: Legal Consultants Sought
The Institute keeps a database of legal consultants for use on its own projects and to recommend to other organisations. We are constantly seeking experienced practitioners and academics who are interested in this type of work, for assignments of greatly varying scope and duration. If you would like your details to be held by the Institute for possible future assignments, please email your CV to Hugo Warner (h.warner@biicl.org), stating which of the areas specified you are able to cover. The Institute would make an assessment of your suitability and then contact you as soon as an appropriate opportunity arises. For more information, see the Aspals Appointments page.  [Posted: 22/ii/06] back to the top

Too Many Rotten Apples
Transcript of an interview with a private soldier, a Fusilier A of the 1st Bn, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who has since left the army. It was carried out by a Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch officer as part of a "lessons learned" investigation into a botched SIB investigation into allegations of drugs taking and conspiracy to murder at the battalion. The interview took place on June 27, 2003. Most of the battalion were on leave after returning from Iraq. The day after the interview took place, Fusilier Gary Bartlam, another member of the same unit, walked into a photographic shop in Tamworth, Staffs to have some photographs developed. [Times, 12 Feb 06].  [Posted: 18/ii/06] back to the top

Communication concerning the situation in Iraq (From the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court).
International Criminal Court has a mandate to examine the conduct during the conflict, but not whether the decision to engage in armed conflict was legal. As the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, he does not have the mandate to address the arguments on the legality of the use of force or the crime of aggression. The Statute requirements to seek authorization to initiate an investigation in the situation in Iraq have not been satisfied. This conclusion can be reconsidered in the light of new facts or evidence. In accordance with Rule 49(2) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, should additional information be available regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, it may be submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor. Bearing in mind the limited jurisdiction of this Court, as well as its complementary nature, effectively functioning national legal systems are in principle the most appropriate and effective forum for addressing allegations of crimes of this nature. This is a pdf file and the link will open in Adobe. Click here.  [Posted: 12/ii/06] back to the top

Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflict) Bill - Bill 16 of 2005-06 - RESEARCH PAPER 05/56
The Bill seeks to establish a requirement for the Government to obtain the approval of both Houses of Parliament, for the deployment of the Armed Forces in armed conflict and/or for a declaration of war to be made. The Bill is sponsored by Claire Short MP. This is a pdf file and the link will open in Adobe. Click here.  [Posted: 11/ii/06]  back to the top

200th anniversary of Trafalgar
We have received a rather humorous script which shows how differently things could have turned out if Nelson were a modern commander. If you embarrass easily, it is not for you. If you do not, then link here  [Posted: 27/xi/05]  back to the top

Military prosecutions 'not being distorted'
Writing in the Times, the Attorney-General, the Lord Goldsmith, strongly rejects the allegation made by Lord Astor of Hever and Andrew Robathan, Shadow Defence Ministers, that decisions on military prosecutions are distorted by "political correctness".
Writing in the Telegraph, Lt Gen F. R. Viggers, Adjutant-General, condemns the appalling slur on the professionalism and character of the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson. Sir Mike writes, on 19th November, in the Telegraph, concerned at the calumnies uttered against the APA. [Posted: 16/xi/05, revised on 10/xi/05] back to the top

Trial of 7 members of 3 Para stayed
7 soldiers accused of the killing of Nadhem Abdullah were acquitted by direction of the judge advocate general who ruled that, although he found sufficient evidence for a properly directed court to conclude that
(a) Nadhem Abdullah is dead
(b) that he died as a result of an assault, and
(c) the assault was carried out by Cpl Evans' section,
he did not feel that if unlawful force was applied there was sufficient evidence to identify which of the defendants applied that force or whether it was applied after other members of the section joined in. Since those not involved in the assault on Nadhem could not be guilty as secondary parties, and the prosecution could not identify any single defendant who applied unlawful force, then there was no case against any of the defendants. The prosecution in a court-martial has no right to appeal terminating rulings such as this.
Read the ruling here (you will need Acrobat. This is a large file of over 500kb)
In spite of unsubstantiated media claims that the trial cost £10m Aspals has learnt that the true figure is in the region of £½m.  [Posted 3/xi/05, revised: 5/xi/05] back to the top

Military police chief found dead
The senior military police investigator in Iraq was found dead at the British base in Basra, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. Captain Ken Masters was discovered in his accommodation in Waterloo Lines in southern Iraq on Saturday. The MoD said an inquiry was under way but the circumstances were not regarded as suspicious. Captain Masters, who was 40 and married with two children, had served with the Royal Military Police since 1981. Fuller story at BBC News. Our condolences to Ken's family. Aspals [Posted 19/x/05] back to the top

Prosecution of British Soldiers - Statement of the Attorney General
This was the statement made on 14 June 2004, concerning the position in relation to prosecution of soldiers and offences involving Iraqi civilians. Link Here. [Posted 8/v/05] back to the top

Iraq War - Advice of Attorney General
The full advice letter to the Prime Minister from the Attorney General, Lord Peter Goldsmith, of 7th March 2003 has now been released. It is an opportunity for the public to judge for itself. Read it in full here [Posted 28/iv/05] back to the top

International Law Of War Association
A very useful website for operational lawyers, principally designed by Judge Evan Wallach. There are links to relevant LOW articles and legal provisions. The whole site is designed as easily navigable and is likely to be well visited by deployed lawyers. You will find the link on our Links page or by following this link. [Posted 21/iii/05] back to the top

Address of the Prosecutor at the Inauguration of the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of BH (Sarajevo, 9 March 2005)
GCM of Kenyon, Larkin and Cooley
Read the consolidated news reports on the trial of these four soldiers, members of the 1 RRF (1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) who were tried and convicted of abusing Iraqi civilians. News items posted to the Kenyon Trial page. [Posted 8/iii/05] back to the top

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
A petition for writ of certiorari before judgment in the Court of Appeals was filed tonight with the United States Supreme Court in the case challenging the constitutionality of the military commissions. It may be downloaded from the NIMJ website at: www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/.  [Posted 23/xi/04] back to the top

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Civ. No. 04-1519 (JR) (D.D.C.)
The decision and order by Judge Robertson in this Guantanamo habeas corpus case are available at the NIMJ website at: www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/.  [Posted 9/xi/04] back to the top

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The decision by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan holds that the involuntary anthrax vaccination program is illegal in the absence of informed consent or a Presidential waiver. Visit the nimj website for more details. [Posted 29/x/04] back to the top

Iraq: Key documents library at the Guardian
Links to reports by the ICRC and Amnesty, plus other important documents. This is a most useful source. Link to it here.  [Posted 27/viii/04] back to the top

US - detainee-treatment/interrogation documents
Visit NIMJ's website, http://www.wcl.american.edu/nimj//, for links to the detainee-treatment/interrogation documents that were released yesterday.  [Posted 23/vi/04] back to the top

Volume 2 of NIMJ's Military Commission Instructions Sourcebook
This is now available. It includes important background information on the military commissions, a table of citations, supplemental bibliography, and index. The Foreword is by Patricia M. Wald. 295 + xi pp. The price per copy is $35. Checks should be made payable to NIMJ.
A few copies of volume 1 are also available. Visit their website at: www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/.  NIMJ.[Posted 13/iii/04] back to the top

NIMJ sues the Defense Department
NIMJ today sued the Defense Department in Federal District Court in Washington under the Freedom of Information Act. At issue are documents sent to or received from persons outside the government regarding the President's Nov. 13, 2001 Military Order, Secretary Rumsfeld's Military Commission Orders, and the Military Commission Instructions. NIMJ is being represented by Mark Lynch and Emily Hancock of the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling. www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/.  NIMJ.[Posted 27/ii/04] back to the top

New Military Commission Order
The Pentagon today released a new Military Commission Order concerning monitoring of communications and an amended version of the affidavit and agreement that must be executed by civilian defense counsel in military commissions. Copies have been uploaded to the National Institute of Military Justice website,www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/.  NIMJ.[Posted 7/ii/04] back to the top

Amicus Briefs in the Guantanamo Detainees Case
Amicus curiae briefs filed by five military defense attorneys in the Office of Military Commissions and by the National Institute of Military Justice have been uploaded to the "News" department on the National Institute of Military Justice website,www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/NIMJ.[Posted 14/i/04] back to the top

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Guantanamo Bay case is available for downloading from the National Institute of Military Justice website, www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/. Look for the link under "News."  NIMJ.[Posted 18/xii/03]  back to the top

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the Padilla case is available for downloading from the National Institute of Military Justice website, www.wcl.american.edu/nimj/. Look for the link under "News." NIMJ [Posted 18/xii/03] back to the top

NIMJ book concerning military commissions
The 258-page Military Commission Instructions Sourcebook contains all eight Military Commission Instructions issued by the Department of Defense on April 30, 2003, along with discussions of each by military, criminal and law of war experts, as well as comments submitted to DoD in response to the draft of what became Military Commission Instruction No. 2 on Crimes and Elements, and pertinent 1998-99 United States proposals on Crimes and Elements for use by the International Criminal Court.
The Sourcebook is available from NIMJ for $25, postage included. Checks should be made payable to NIMJ, and should be mailed to Eugene R. Fidell, 2001 L St., N.W., Second Floor, Washington, DC 20036.
NIMJ's earlier Annotated Guide to Procedures for Trials by Military Commissions of Certain Non-United States Citizens in the War Against Terrorism (2002) is available from LexisNexis Matthew Bender.  back to the top

A 19th Century literary reminder of double standards sometimes shown to our troops.   Tommy, by Rudyard Kipling  back to the top

And another reminder of the soldier's lot   Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson  back to the top

Council of Europe Recommendation 1572 (2002) 11
Right to association for members of the professional staff of the armed forces (adopted by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, Sept. 3, 2002).
1.  The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its Resolution (1988) on the right to association for members of the professional staff of the armed forces, in which it called on all member states of the Council of Europe to grant professional members of the armed forces, under normal circumstances, the right to association, with an interdiction of the right to strike. It also recalls its Order No. (1998) on monitoring of commitments as regards social rights, calling on the member states to implement the European Social Charter... (read more)
Doc. 9518,15 July 2002
Chapter 9 of the Handboook on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces Personnel  back to the top


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Armed Forces Discipline Act 2000    Link to it here: Armed Forces Discipline Act 2000
Visit the Aspals synopsis page for a brief overview. back to the top


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