Global Seminar on Military Justice Reform

Welcome to the website for Yale Law School’s 2014 Global Seminar on Military Justice Reform. The Seminar is made possible by the generosity of the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School and in cooperation with the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and the National Institute of Military Justice.

Military justice continues to face dramatic challenges. There are topical national controversies such as, in the United States, those arising from the treatment of sexual assault. And there are rising expectations around the world for due process and the rule of law in the administration of justice by military courts. Noteworthy current developments include:

  • Public and congressional dismay over the handling of sexual assault cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and questions about the role of commanders 
    in the administration of military justice
  • Reform proposals pending before the U.S. Congress and other national legislatures
  • Decisions by national courts and human rights treaty bodies on the scope of military jurisdiction and the allocation of subject matter jurisdiction between 
    military and civilian courts
  • Persistent questions about the structural independence of the Armed Forces Tribunal in India
  • Use of military justice to stifle civilian dissent and otherwise prosecute civilians for nonmilitary offenses (e.g., Thailand)

Because military justice systems regularly confront comparable issues, valuable insight into the goals, trajectory and tempo of law reform may be gained by discussion across national lines. What are the main issues and best strategies – legislative, litigative, “the court of public opinion” – for achieving reform? As in 2013, the seminar will not be a series of formal speeches, but rather, informed discussion by experts who are personally involved in reform efforts.

The Seminar will be open to the public and we expect that members of the Yale Law School community will attend. Members of the media may also attend, although our ground rules will be that participants may speak off the record or not for attribution if they wish. This website provides access to readings suggested by Seminar participants. We will welcome additional readings. These may be sent to Renee DeMatteo, our Events Coordinator, at events.law@yale.edu.

Proceedings will be in English. The Seminar is not intended to reach any conclusions or to frame recommendations. We will, however, prepare a brief report for participants and others with an interest.


The Seminar will be held in Sterling Law Building room 129, except as otherwise indicated.
Registration in room 122.

Friday, November 7

7:00 Welcoming Dinner
Mory’s, 306 York Street, New Haven
Captain’s Room

Saturday, November 8

8:00 Continental Breakfast

8:30-8:45 Welcoming Remarks
Eugene R. Fidell, Yale Law School
Brig Gen Jan Peter Spijk, International Society for Military Law and the Law of War
Lt Col Dru Brenner-Beck, President, National Institute of Military Justice

Session 1
8:45 - 10:15 National Reports
Moderator: General Spijk

10:15 – 10:30 Break

Session 2
10:30 – 12:00  National Military Justice Compliance with the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Process and Jurisprudence
Moderator: Robert Husbands, Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights

12:15 – 1:45  Luncheon Remarks: The Military Justice Review Group
The Honorable Andrew S. Effron,
Introduced by Professor Elizabeth Hillman
Alumni Reading Room

Session 3
1:45 – 2:45 Discipline in UN Peacekeeping Troop Contingents
Moderators: Colonel Ben F. Klappe, Ministry of Defense, The Netherlands
Professor Bruce C. Rashkow, Columbia Law School

2:45 – 3:00 Break

Session 4
3:00 – 4:15 Civil and Military Jurisdiction: Where to Draw the Line?
The Honorable Gilles Létourneau, Federal Court of Appeal of Canada (ret)
Major (ret) Navdeep Singh, India

Session 5
4:15 – 5:15 Technology and Discipline
Moderator: Colonel Dwight H. Sullivan, USMCR (ret)

5:15 Concluding Remarks
Mr. Fidell
Lt Col Brenner-Beck
General Spijk

7:00 Concluding Dinner
Saray Turkish Restaurant, 770 Campbell Avenue, West Haven

Sponsored by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School in cooperation with the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and the National Institute of Military Justice

Please Note: Titles shown are for identification purposes only. Participants are not speaking in an official capacity.