Leadership: Military Law Applied to Contractors

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May 13,2008: Two years ago, the U.S. Congress gave the military the authority to prosecute civilian contractors, using military law, for felonies committed in a combat zone. Now, the first civilian defendant is facing such a trial. This is the first time this has happened since the Vietnam war (where the military improvised, but later had convictions overturned by U.S. Supreme Court.) The defendant is a Iraqi-Canadian translator, who stabbed another civilian during an argument last February, in a U.S. base 138 kilometers west of Baghdad. The victim survived, but the defendant is being court martialed for assault, just as any soldier would be. Lawyers round the world are debating the legality of all this, agreeing only that perpetrators should be brought to justice some way or another.

 


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