Senate Receives UCMJ Bill for AFL

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The Senate yesterday received for enactment into law a Bill titled “Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her letter dated July 25, informed the Senate plenary that the purpose of the Bill is to provide the legal framework for jurisdictional authority for dispensing justice and the right to due process within the AFL.

The National Defense Act provides that, “All members of the AFL shall be subject to the UCMJ whether on duty or off duty;” and consistent with the National Defense Act of 2008, the Bill relates to military personnel.

President Sirleaf’s communication further explained that the bill relates to other personnel “including those awaiting discharge after expiration of their terms of enlistment, volunteers from the time of their muster or acceptance into the armed forces; inductees from the time of their actual induction into the armed forces; prisoners of war in custody of the armed forces and several other categories of persons connected to the military activities.”

President Sirleaf recalled that over the years, personnel of the AFL were subjected to the UCMJ of the United States, as well as recommendations of the AFL Board of Inquiry and its corresponding Disciplinary Board.

“This due process mechanism needs institutional affirmation, which has informed this decision to legislate the UCMJ for the AFL. In view of the foregoing and consistent with the National Defense Act of 2008, which provides that all members of the AFL shall be subject to the UCMJ of the AFL– which provides for legal obligations and protection for members of the AFL, as other citizens of Liberia, I ask for timely enactment into law of this instrument by the National Legislature.”

The Bill was sent to the Committee on Judiciary chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney G. Sherman and the H. Dan Morais-chaired Committee on Foreign Affairs to report to Plenary in two weeks.

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