Chandigarh, December 5
A Chandigarh-based lawyer is among two Indian experts who are part of the team that framed the ‘Commonwealth Military Justice Principles’, which were released at Stellenbosch in South Africa, today to enunciate the basic minimum requirements for military justice as followed by most democracies for their judicial and legal systems.
The Stellenbosch Draft, as it has been christened, comprises ten basic principles outlining the bare minimum expectations from any system of military justice, including adherence to the principles of separation of powers, rule of law, impartiality, independence and competence of adjudicators and prosecution, rights of the accused, open-access, and appellate rights.
The 10-member team included Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer, Major Navdeep Singh, who was a member of the High-Level Committee of Experts constituted by the Defence Minister to reduce litigation and to strengthen the system of grievance redressal and part of the ‘Yale Draft’ on military justice at the Yale Law School, besides being an International Fellow with the National Institute of Military Justice, Washington DC, and a member of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, Brussels.
The other Indian Member is Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who has dealt extensively with military related issues, including service matters relating to women officers in the armed forces.
The Stellenbosch Principles are expected to be a valuable resource for legal, judicial, academic and public policy guidance. They are aimed at ensuring that military courts, when they exist, are part of a state’s general judicial system under the authority of the constitution or statute, respecting the principle of separation of powers and reflecting the rule of law and the obligations of international law, and that the system is independent, impartial, and transparent.
The draft also stipulates that the laws and procedure relating to military justice are reviewed at regular intervals to ensure their compliance with best practices and developments in international and domestic jurisdictions.
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