Sexual Harassment and the Code of Military Justice

Sexual harassment has been added to the code of military justice. The news story mention the murder of a female soldier.
Eddie Slovik was court martialed and shot for desertion in WWII. Does the military try and execute one soldier for killing another, or do they turn the accused over to a civilian court? I recall a soldier who was caught using drugs, and was turned over to the Turkish courts, and did prison time in Turkey.

It really pisses me off that it took this long.

I assume the OP is referencing this case for those who want more info:

Yes, thanks, Whack-a-mole.

I think if a soldier commits a crime while on active duty they are subject to a court-martial (example). In general I think this is worse for the defendant. They would have more protection in a civilian criminal court.

If they are off-duty (out of uniform and off base) but still active in the military I am not sure how that works.

In the case of a foreign country the US can turn the person over to local authorities. Sometimes this happens with embassy staff/ambassadors. The country can protect the person or leave them for the locals. Politics that will decide that.

And yet, it is still not a criminal offense in the civilian world.

Anecdata, but I saw an episode of Cops set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The NOPD busted a pair of sailors off a Navy warship in port. Nothing too serious, if I recall - drunk and disorderly, or fighting, or something like that. Anyway, they took the two sailors back to the police station and turned them over to a naval officer with a couple of MPs, who hauled them back to the ship. From the way he talked to them, they weren’t going to enjoy the next few days.

The Status of Forces Agreement or Visiting Forces Agreement is what’s used to determine if serving United States military members are surrendered to host country legal authorities. We do have people incarcerated overseas.

Does that agreement say the US will never hand over someone who has committed a crime in that country? Or, it is optional? Or, they will hand them over every time? (really asking)

No, it does not say the US will never hand over someone who’s committed a crime in the host country. As I mentioned, we do have service members currently serving time in foreign prison. The main factor in the decision is if the alleged offense occurred while the alleged perpetrator was carrying out his official duties. The Yangju highway incident, twenty years ago, has some good information on the issue of jurisdiction in the SOFA.

My friend was caught with dope on base, and did time in a Turkish prison with his teeth falling out until his Mother was able to sell some of his stuff so that he could bribe his way out.
A chaplain told him he was serving his country by proving that the USA respected the laws of other governments.

But will the US military try and execute someone in uniform for killing another person in uniform on a USA base?

To the same extent any other jurisdiction can, sure. Which is to say there’s a trial and appeals and all kinds of hand-ringing and kicking the ball, to the point that the US military hasn’t actually executed a servicemember (legally) since 1961, and that was actually for rape of a civilian girl in Austria. The most infamous military death row inmate (Nidal Hasan, tried by court-martial) was, however, convicted for precisely that: murdering fellow soldiers on base.

ETA: That link includes a very short list of current military death row inmates.

Reminds me of a movie (not exactly).

Back to the subject of sexual harassment in the military.
As reported in the link provided above:
"The [National Defense Authorization Act includes several measures that reform how the military treats sexual harassment or assault. Most of those measures were drawn from or inspired by the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act:

  • When military personnel are missing or absent without leave, their commanders must immediately share information with local and federal agencies;
  • Sexual harassment complaints must be handled through independent investigations;
  • The Secretary of Defense must assess on-base living quarters and take measures “to prevent crime, including sexual assault,” such as ensuring sleeping areas’ have locking doors and windows;
  • The Department of Defense will track “allegations of retaliation by victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.”

Looks pretty strong to me.

Here is a link to the Executive Order itself:

Personally, I think a major reform of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is in order. Don’t get me wrong; I welcome this addition and it is long overdue. Currently, there isn’t really a distinction between misdemeanor and felony in that system. There are different avenues which a commanding officer can use to pursue a case, ranging from nonjudicial punishment (which title is a blatant lie as the commanding officer, or designated other officer adjudicates the case and determines guilt and punishment), to summary court-martial, to special court-martial, and finally general court-martial. Then there’s the unconstitutional, IMHO, of Sailors and Marines serving at sea being denied their right to request trial in lieu of NJP, and denied the right to appeal the CO’s decision except as to severity of punishment.

Was your friend in the military himself or was he a family member accompanying a military member? Service members caught on base with drugs are caught by the Military Police and are subjected to military punishment, as I recall.

Odd statement, but fair enough. Not only that, but he SOFA is also US law, as it’s a treaty approved by Congress.

Technically, yes; however, it has been quite some time since the US millitary has carried out an execution.

ETA: As a point of information, US military bases overseas are not United States territory.

This was made very clear to us prior to deploying overseas. I think a lot of the younger troops thought it was just a scare tactic, but when we arrived in Spain and inherited a guy who was still there from two previous deployed battalions, it was pretty sobering. Seems he was in a town bar when the Guardia raided the place and found someone holding pot. They arrested everybody in the place, even though this guy had nothing on him. He was released on bail to the U.S. military with the stipulation that he could not leave the base until the Spanish government decided what to do with him. He had been there for over two years by the time we got there and was definitely on the squirrely side. Then a day came when the base was contacted and told “you have 24 hours to get him out of our country.”

It seems odd that the Army would cooperate with those circumstances.

Where a Status of Forces Agreement is in place, it kind of has to. Not merely because of how the host country might react, but how the US government may react when the host country protests a violation of the SOFA. A US Naval officer was recently sentenced to a Japanese prison, by a Japanese court, for negligent driving causing death.

We were told that if you are in a Japanese prison, you’d better learn the language, because the guards will not speak English and you’re expected to follow commands immediately.