Andrew Harnick / AP
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has announced that he will support a change in the military judiciary system that removes sexual assault cases from the chain of command and allows independent military lawyers to handle them.
so Tuesday’s statement, Austin said he would offer President Biden a series of recommendations aimed at “finally ending the sexual assault and sexual harassment tragedy in the military.”
This is an earthquake change that requires a revision of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and other Secretaries of Defense are not willing to do so.
Austin’s announcement report Biden’s mission was to find solutions to improve accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and the care and support of victims involved in such cases. Independent review of military sexual assault According to the committee.
Austin said, “The IRC recommended including the crimes of other special victims within this independent prosecution system to include domestic violence. A strong correlation between this type of crime and the prevalence of sexual assault. Given the relationship, I also support this. “
“As I revealed in my first full day in office, this is a leadership issue, and we take the lead,” said the secretary.
Austin’s approval of the change is contrary to the Pentagon’s position.
Not surprising is Austin’s enthusiasm for renewing the existing military judiciary system and the speed at which he appears to be planning to act.
When he first created the IRC Survey Panel in February, the newly appointed Lloyd revealed that he was keen to make meaningful changes.
“Sexual assault and harassment remain a persistent and corrosive problem throughout the entire army.” Austin said At the time.
“I hope that all members of our entire army will be part of the solution and that both civilian and military leaders will be directly accountable to drive meaningful change. “He added.
However, the Pentagon has long resisted external interference in deciding whether commanders, rather than defenders of independent judges, will pursue liability for sexual assault claims. It states that it is the most suitable.
Military law improvement and increase prevention law
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other members of the Democratic Party of New York have worked for years to pass legislation enacting the types of changes recommended by the IRC and approved by Austin.
under Military law improvement and increase prevention lawA trained military prosecutor will be at the decision-making table, rather than the traditional chain of command. This allows the case to remain under military surveillance, but is handled by a criminal justice lawyer with relevant expertise, rather than a commander who is often untrained.
Gillibrand, who chairs the Senate Military Commission on issues related to active and reserve military personnel, including military law, has called on the Pentagon and its fellow senators for an eight-year reform bill. She first announced a version of the bill in 2013.
But last month, Senator Breakthrough promotion Among her colleagues after she joined forces with Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst.
“We have a lot of momentum. I think we have well over 60 votes at this point,” Gillibrand said in support of the bill in the Senate.
Reports of such crimes in the military continue to increase, but prosecutions continue to decline.
“Sexual assault in our army is epidemic and it is clear that the current system is not working for survivors,” she said. so statement Promote bipartisan support for legislation. “Despite repeated efforts to protect women and men with a certain percentage of harassment and assault, prosecution continues to increase, while decreasing.”
A 2020 report According to the Pentagon, unlimited reports of sexual assault in the military have doubled, and the rate of prosecution and conviction has halved since 2013. According to the Senator’s office, one in 16 women in the army was raped, raped, or otherwise sexually assaulted in 2018, and the latest year’s data was released by the Pentagon. It was.
So NPR pointed out Earlier this year, “the problem reached a critical rate when the Pentagon reported that about 20,500 military personnel (13,000 women and 7,500 men) had experienced some form of sexual assault.”
Secretary of Defense says he supports removing sexual crimes from the commander: NPR
Source link Secretary of Defense says he supports removing sexual crimes from the commander: NPR