The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said that military courts have filed a request for a constitutional interpretation with the Council of Grand Justices, arguing that abolishing the military justice system could violate the Constitution.
The ministry said in a press statement that the Supreme Military Court and the North Military District Court filed separate appeals.
The ministry said that under Article 152 of the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法), military courts exercise judicial authority independently, and the ministry respects their decision.
The ministry said the military courts have asked the grand justices to explain Article 9 of the Constitution, which states: “Except active military personnel, people do not receive military trials.”
It said the military courts believe this means active military personnel should receive military trials.
The ministry said that in accordance with the grand justices’ Interpretations No. 371 and No. 572, the North Military District Court announced it had suspended one trial pending a constitutional interpretation.
The Legislative Yuan in August passed amendments to the Code of Court Martial Procedure and the National Security Act (國家安全法) to transfer jurisdiction over military criminal cases during peacetime to the civilian judicial system.
Two-thirds of military cases have been transferred to the civilian system so far, while the remaining one-third is to be transferred by the beginning of next year.
The amendment was proposed and passed after the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) in July and followed mass protests against the defense ministry and the military judicial system.