NVAA 2000 Text

Chapter 3 Supplement Specific Justice Systems

and Victims' Rights

Section 3, Military Justice

Statistical Overview

Executive Order

To address hate and bias crimes in the military, President Clinton signed an executive order on October 9, 1999, that amended the Manual for Courts-Martial, which establishes procedures for criminal trials in the armed forces. The order makes a number of changes to modernize the rules of evidence that apply to court-martial proceedings. Gay rights advocates called for the order in the wake of the killing in July 1999 of Army Pvt. Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, because he was believed to be homosexual. He was beaten to death with a baseball bat. President Clinton's order also extends limited protection to homosexuals in the military who confide their sexual orientation to psychotherapists.

The new rule provides that evidence of a violent hate or bias crime may be presented to the sentencing authority as an aggravating factor in the determination of the appropriate sentence. Section 1. Part II of the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, R.C.M. 1001(b)(4) is amended by inserting the following:

Evidence in aggravation includes, but is not limited to, evidence of financial, social, psychological, and medical impact on or cost to any person or entity who was the victim of an offense committed by the accused and evidence of significant adverse impact on the mission, discipline, or efficiency of the command directly and immediately resulting from the accused's offense. In addition, evidence in aggravation may include evidence that the accused intentionally selected any victim or any property as the object of the offense because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.

As is increasingly the case in civilian courts, this rule sends a strong message that violence based on hatred will not be tolerated. In particular, the rule provides that the sentencing authority may consider whether the offense was motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation (Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 801-946).

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment charges were filed in late 1999 by the first three-star and ranking female general in the Army. The case marks the beginning of a new round of investigations into sexual harassment in the military. Groping charges were made against another general, who was the victim's immediate superior, at the time the events were alleged to have occurred in 1996. The harassment was reported at that time and dealt with in a non-public manner. Last year, when the alleged offender was promoted to a higher rank, the victim took her charges to the Army Inspector General's Office. Women make up 15 percent of the army's 479,000 people, but there are only 10 women among the 301 Army generals on active duty (Ricks 5 April 2000).

Additional Resources

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2000 NVAA Text
Chapter 3.3
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