Criminal Offences Committed in Military Service
|Military law reinforces discipline|
|Small scale misdemeanours|
|Moderately serious offences|
|Table of offences tried by Copurt Martial|
|Types of Court-Martial|
|How the Military Justice System Works|
The head of the unit as immediate superior who acts as primary disciplinary master has the exclusive right to choose: non-judicial punishment (such as fines, curfews, arrests up to 7 days), forwarding the decision to the next superior officer of the unit (arrest then can be extended up to 21 days) or calling the military service court (Truppendienstgericht) which has the power for further punishment (like degradation and shortening the salary up to five years). The judge of such a court is a civil one, two military officers are attending every case and act as consultants to the judge.
In Germany, there are no federal or military prisons. If a soldier is sentenced to jail for up to six months, the punishment is executed by the soldier's barracks administration. He will remain in arrest for the same time but continue serving in his unit on duty times unless the court has imposed further limits. Otherwise soldiers will be detained in civil state prisons. In the case of a soldier being sentenced to jail for one year or more (6 months or more in case of bribery) he will be discharged from the armed forces.
Military crimes are relatively common. Partly this is due to the fact that the bar of criminality has been set consciously low. The crime of absence without leave is committed by a soldier who is even a minute late, and a slightest wilful or negligent disregard for a standing order or a regulation fulfils the indicia of the "service crime". The legislator has purposefully given the military superiors the legal tools by which to maintain discipline by punishing even the slight appearances of bad conduct if they feel it necessary. On the other hand, handing out unofficial punishments is discouraged in the extreme.
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