Military Law comprises of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) along with other legal provisions for the government of individuals in the Armed Forces. This law covers the unwritten common law of the custom and utilization of military service as well as the regulations authorized by the Commander in Chief (the President) of the Armed Forces.
As part of the military law, the Constitution grants power to Congress in raising and supporting a navy and armies to hold back revolt and resist invasion among other government roles that are military-related. Federal Law is the main source of legal authority in this scenario. Moreover, the Congress also has the control over government, organization, and formation of the national armies whereas the control is exclusive and plenary.
Military Law is also a branch of law that is fully acknowledged by civil courts. This law is enforced during time of war and time of peace. In the United States, all individuals serving the country’s Armed Forces are subject under the military laws at all times.
Military justice is also covered by Military Law. It is also a branch of laws and procedures governing the constituents of the armed forces. In some states, military justice has distinct and separate bodies of law that govern the conduct of the armed forces’ constituents. Some states even use special judicial process and other arrangements in enforcing military laws while other states use civilian judicial systems.
Military justice have some unique legal issues that include appropriate conduct for the constituents of the military, the legality of orders, and the preservation of discipline and good order. However, in some states, the military justice systems are enabled to deal with civil offenses committed in some circumstances by their armed forces.
Compared to the imposition of military authority on civilian population, military justice is distinct because it serves as substitute for civil authority. This scenario is usually labeled as martial law, which is often declared in times of civil unrest, war, or emergency. Apparently, many countries in the world give restriction on enforcing and declaring martial law since it may not bring good benefits for the citizens.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice comprising the military law has three different forms of courts-martial that include general, special, and summary. These forms may differ in their imposed punishments and compositions. In addition, the Military Rules of Evidence also apply to all abovementioned forms of courts-martial.
The general court-martial comprises of a military judge and not less than five members. In this form, the accused will be tired by the military judge alone upon the accused request. It is often characterized as a lawbreaking court. All individuals can be subject to this form of court-martial including midshipmen and officers.
The special court-martial comprises of a military judge and not less than three members. This court is often characterized as a misdemeanor court. It can impose any authorized punishment under the R.C.M.1003 except confinement of more than a year, dismissal, dishonorable discharge, and death. The authorized punishments may also include forfeiture of pay for more than a year and hard labor without confinement for more than three months.
The summary court-martial comprises of only one commissioned officer. It can only try enlisted individuals for non-capital offenses. The punishment under this court can be imposed depending on the status of the accused.