Military tribunal
Overview
 
A military tribunal is a kind of military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

 designed to try
Trial (law)
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...

 members of enemy forces during war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

time, operating outside the scope of conventional criminal
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 and civil
Private law
Private law is that part of a civil law legal system which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as the law of contracts or torts, as it is called in the common law, and the law of obligations as it is called in civilian legal systems...

 proceedings. The judges are military officers
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 and fulfill the role of juror
Military jury
A United States military jury serves a function similar to an American civilian jury, but with several notable differences...

s. Military tribunals are distinct from courts-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

.

A military tribunal is an inquisitorial system
Inquisitorial system
An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense...

 based on charges brought by military authorities, prosecuted by a military authority, judged by military officers, and sentenced
Sentence (law)
In law, a sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime...

 by military officers against a member of an adversarial force.

The United States has made use of military tribunals or commissions, rather than rely on a court-martial
Courts-martial in the United States
Courts-martial in the United States are criminal trials conducted by the U.S. military. Most commonly, courts-martial are convened to try members of the U.S. military for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice , which is the U.S. military's criminal code...

, within the military justice system, during times of declared war or rebellion.

Most recently, as discussed below, the administration of George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 sought to use military tribunals to try "unlawful enemy combatants", mostly individuals captured abroad and held at a prison camp at a military base at Guant√°namo Bay, Cuba.
A military tribunal or commission is most usually used to refer to a court that asserts jurisdiction over persons who are combatants of an enemy force, are held in military custody, and are accused of a violation of the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

.
 
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