Chapter 5: The Way Ahead: Looking Forward - 2013-14

The Office of the JAG will continue to support the ongoing legislative and regulatory work and independent reviews that contribute to the continued development of the military justice system. These efforts continue to provide Canada with a military justice system that is operationally effective while respecting Canadian law.

The Office of the JAG will continue its commitment towards the responsible development and proactive oversight of the military justice system during future reporting periods. For example, implementation of the statutory and regulatory amendments stemming from Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, along with other recommendations provided by the Second Independent Review Authority, retired Chief Justice Patrick LeSage, will advance during the next reporting period. Finally, it is expected that the Office of the JAG will continue to support other government initiatives that involve the military justice system such as Bill C-14 (Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act) and Bill C-24 (Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act). Should these bills receive Royal Assent, work towards implementing the necessary legislative and regulatory amendments to the National Defence Act and the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces would begin in future reporting periods.

Conclusion

The Canadian mission in Afghanistan provides an excellent example of the need for a separate system of military justice. After more than a decade of operations in Afghanistan, Canada’s military justice system has been "battle tested" and has proven itself to be a key tool for maintaining discipline.

The contributions made by the Office of the JAG to support the effective functioning of the military justice system have contributed to the overall operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In reflecting upon the Afghan mission, members of the Office of the JAG will continue to draw upon the lessons learned during the mission and with a view towards the responsible development of the Canadian military justice system. Similar to the civilian criminal justice system, the military justice system will continue to evolve in light of legislative and jurisprudential developments. This unique, sui generis system of justice that is designed to be a fair, efficient and effective mechanism to instil discipline and support operational effectiveness remains a world-class system that is responsive to the needs of the Government of Canada, the Department of National Defence and the CAF.

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