The His Majesty's Military Courts are the Military justice system of the Holy Empire of Jinavia. The system applies to all four armed forces, the Imperial Army, the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Air Force and the Imperial Gendarmerie Corps. The military courts have jurisdiction over all members of the armed forces, and over civilians subject to military discipline.
Summary hearing by Commanding Officer Edit
Most offences by members of the armed forces against military law or regulations are dealt with by Commanding Officers through a summary hearing. A Commanding Officer may deal with an offence by a summary hearing if the offence is minor and the accused is of or below the rank of Lieutenant Colonel or equivalent.
Examples of offences which can be dealt with by a Commanding Officer include being absent without leave, insubordination, malingering, conduct prejudicial to good order, ill-treating subordinates and various offences against civilian law such as theft, assault, criminal damage, and careless driving. Offences which cannot be dealt with summarily include assisting the enemy, misconduct on operations (which includes a range of offences committed when the enemy is nearby, such as surrendering a position, sleeping on duty, and spreading alarm or despondency), mutiny, and desertion.
A person charged with an offence which could be dealt with by a summary hearing before a Commanding Officer has the right to request a trial by Court Martial instead.
If a Commanding Officer dealing with an offence summarily finds the accused guilty, he imposes punishments including loss of seniority (for an officer), or reduction in rank (for a warrant officer or non-commissioned officer). For lower ranks, he can impose a term of detention in a unit guardhouse, or at a Corrective Centre, of up to 60 days, or a requirement to carry out extra work or drill, or loss of entitlement to leave. Alternatively he can impose a fine of up to 30 days' pay, or another minor punishment.
Summary Appeal Court Edit
Someone found guilty of an offence in a summary hearing can appeal against the punishment to the Summary Appeal Court. The Summary Appeal Court is made up of three Judges, of officer rank. A case before the Summary Appeal Court is dealt with by reconsidering the decision on punishment. The Judge President presides over the hearing and gives rulings on matters of law including practice and procedure. Decisions to grant or dismiss the appeals are made by a majority of the three members of the Court.
Court Martial Edit
The Court Martial is a permanent standing court. Courts Martial follow the distinction between Command Courts-Martial and General Courts-Martial, with the Command Court-Martial having more limited sentencing powers than the General Court-Martial.
The Court Martial can try any offence against military law, which includes all criminal offences. The Court is presided over by a Judge President, and there is a jury (formally known as a "Jurisdictional Board") of between three and seven officers or troops of the same rank of the charged, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Rulings on matters of law, practice and procedure are made by the Judge President, whilst findings of guilt or innocence are made by the Board by a simple majority of the members. For deliberations on sentence the Judge President is joined by the Jurisdictional Board.
The punishments which can be imposed by a Court Martial range from death, imprisonment in a civilian prison (for any period up to life if the offence warrants it), detention at the Military Prison, Corrective Centre for two years or less, dismissal from the Armed Forces with or without disgrace, or an unlimited fine, down to those punishments available to a Commanding Officer.
When trying a civilian who is subject to service discipline, the Court Martial consists of a Judge President and a Board comprising civilian members, of the same social class and grade of charged, who do not participate in sentencing. Punishments which can be imposed on a civilian by the Court Martial include imprisonment, a fine or community service but not military detention.
Court Martial Appeal Court Edit
The Court Martial Appeal Court hears appeals from the Court Martial. There are 29 Appeal Courts, one for each Joint Military Region.
Military Collegium of the High Court of Justice Edit
The Military Collegium of the High Court of Justice is a section within the civilian High Court of Justice as a court for the higher military and political personnel of Imperial Armed Forces. In addition it is an immediate supervisor of military Appeal Courts and the supreme authority of military appeals.
Judge Advocate General's Corps Edit
Judge Advocate General's Corps, also known as JAG Corps, is the legal branch of the Jinavian military. JAG officers only serve in legal positions.
Judge Advocates serve primarily as legal advisors to the command to which they are assigned. In this function, they can also serve as the personal legal advisor to their commander. Their advice may cover a wide range of issues dealing with administrative law, government contracting, civilian and military personnel law, law of war and international relations, environmental law, etc. They also serve as Promoteurs of Justice for the military when conducting courts-martial. They are charged with both the defense and prosecution of military law. Highly experienced officers of the JAG Corps often serve as military judges in courts-martial and courts of inquiry.
Office of the Judge Advocate General Edit
The Office of the Judge Advocate General deals with criminal trials of Service men and women in the Armed Forces for serious offences (or where the defendant chooses not to be dealt with by the Commanding Officer), which are heard in a standing court known as the Court Martial. Every Court Martial trial has a judge on the bench presiding over the conduct of the proceedings and ruling on all legal matters arising, the same as in a civilian trial. The judges who sit in the Court Martial are appointed by the Judge Advocate General, who also specifies which judge is to sit on each case.