An Axiom of Military Law : Applicability of National Criminal Law to Military Personnel and Associated Civilians Abroad

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Title: An Axiom of Military Law : Applicability of National Criminal Law to Military Personnel and Associated Civilians Abroad
Author: Liivoja, Rain
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law, Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: States regularly deploy elements of their armed forces abroad. When that happens, the military personnel concerned largely remain governed by the penal law of the State that they serve. This extraterritorial extension of national criminal law, which has been treated as axiomatic in domestic law and ignored by international law scholarship, is the subject of this dissertation. The first part of the study considers the ambit of national criminal law without any special regard to the armed forces. It explores the historical development of the currently prevailing system of territorial law and looks at the ambit that national legal systems claim today. Turning then to international law, the study debunks the oddly persistent belief that States enjoy a freedom to extend their laws to extraterritorial conduct as they please, and that they are in this respect constrained only by some specific prohibitions in international law. Six arguments historical, empirical, ideological, functional, doctrinal and systemic are advanced to support a contrary view: that States are prohibited from extending the reach of their legal systems abroad, unless they can rely on a permissive principle of international law for doing so. The second part of the study deals specifically with State jurisdiction in a military context, that is to say, as applied to military personnel in the strict sense (service members) and various civilians serving with or accompanying the forces (associated civilians). While the status of armed forces on foreign soil has transformed from one encapsulated in the customary concept of extraterritoriality to a modern regulation of immunities granted by treaties, elements of armed forces located abroad usually do enjoy some degree of insulation from the legal system of the host State. As a corollary, they should generally remain covered by the law of their own State. The extent of this extraterritorial extension of national law is revealed in a comparative review of national legislation, paying particular attention to recent legal reforms in the United States and the United Kingdom two states that have sought to extend the scope of their national law to cover the conduct of military contractor personnel. The principal argument of the dissertation is that applying national criminal law to service members and associated civilians abroad is distinct from other extraterritorial claims of jurisdiction (in particular, the nationality principle or the protective principle of jurisdiction). The service jurisdiction over the armed forces has a distinct aim: ensuring the coherence and indivisibility of the forces and maintaining discipline. Furthermore, the exercise of service jurisdiction seeks to reduce the chances of the State itself becoming internationally liable for the conduct of its service members and associated civilians. Critically, the legal system of the troop-deploying State, by extending its reach abroad, seeks to avoid accountability gaps that might result from immunities from host State law.Yksi rikosoikeuden yleisimmistä periaatteista on se, että rikosasia ratkaistaan rikoksen tekopaikan lain mukaan ja tekopaikan tuomioistuimessa. Kyseisestä periaatteesta on kuitenkin olemassa muutama kansainvälisesti hyväksytty poikkeus. Useinmiten valtiot ulottavat rikoslainsäädäntönsä esimerkiksi kansalaistensa ulkomailla suorittamiin rikoksiin ja tekijän kansalaisuudesta riippumatta valtion turvallisuuteen kohdistuviin rikoksiin. Tässä väitöskirjassa tarkastellaan rikosoikeudellisen toimivallan kohdistamista sotilasvirassa olevien henkilöiden ja asevoimien mukana ulkomaille lähtevien siviilihenkilöiden ulkomailla tekemiin rikoksiin. Väitöskirjan keskeinen argumentti on, että kyseessä on erillinen valtion rikosoikeudellisen toimivallan soveltamisperiaate, jolla on oma perustelunsa sekä ulottuvuutensa. Näin ollen sitä, miten pitkälle kansainvälinen oikeus sallii rikosoikeudellisen toimivallan ulottamisen ulkomailla edellä mainitulla tavalla asevoimien yhteydessä tehtyihin rikoksiin, ei voi arvioida muiden kansainvälisessä oikeudessa esiintyvien toimivallankäyttöperiaatteiden valossa. Asialla on erityistä merkitystä ääritapauksissa, joissa valtio rankaisee sotilata tai asevoimien urakoitsijoita, joilla ei ole kyseisen valtion kansalaisuutta. Viimeisen kymmenen vuoden aikana monet valtiot ovat laajentaneet rikosoikeudellisen toimivaltansa koskemaan juuri siviiliurakoitsijoiden ulkomailla tekemiin rikoksiin kyseisten henkilöiden kansalaisuuteen katsomatta.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7061-7
Date: 2011-07-01
Subject: Oikeustiede
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

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