Armed Forces & Society
Militaries throughout the world operate their own courts to prosecute military crimes, such as insubordination, that are not part of civilian legal codes. Latin American militaries traditionally have extended this hermetic justice system to cover all crimes committed by their personnel, allowing the institution to sit in judgment of its own actions and escape punishment for human rights violations. This parallel legal system erodes the principle of equality before the law, threatens civilian control of the military, and nurtures a culture of impunity. This article develops a theoretical model to explain the state of military court jurisdiction over military personnel for human rights violations in democracies. It then empirically tests this model on seventeen cases in Latin America. The article concludes that the variation in reform of military courts is a result of the relative balance between the extent of military autonomy and the strength of the civilian reform movement.
Kyle, B. J., & Reiter, A. G. (2012). Dictating Justice: Human Rights and Military Courts in Latin America. Armed Forces & Society, 38(1), 27-48. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X10390464