The Senate considers Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal this week… If approved, Gillibrand’s Bill would give victims of rape and sexual assault in the military an independent route outside the military chain of command for prosecutions. Gillibrand has support from nearly half the Senate for her proposal But the legislation remains short of the necessary votes.
Her solution appears to have stalled in the face of opposition from the Pentagon’s top echelon and its congressional allies, including two female senators who are former prosecutors.
Opponents of her proposal insist that commanders, not an outside military lawyer, must be accountable for meting out justice.
The carefully crafted Military Justice Improvement Act would move the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, with the exception of 37 crimes that are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying orders or going Absent Without Leave.
In a recent statement, Senator Gillibrand said “America is home to the world’s best and brightest, brave men and women who join the armed services for all the right reasons – to serve our country, defend all that we hold sacred, and make America’s military the best the world has ever known, But too often,” She Says “These brave men and women find themselves in the fight of their lives not off on some far-away battlefield, but right here on our own soil, within their own ranks and commanding officers, as victims of acts of sexual violence.”
The Senator continues by saying her bill would take this issue head on by removing decision-making from the chain of command, and giving that discretion to experienced trial counsel with prosecutorial experience where it belongs. achieving accountability, justice and fairness.