Constitutional limits on military activity

Edit: Phase 2 final wording

The Military

i) The state shall be permitted to recruit, train and deploy military forces in accordance with the following principles. There shall be no private militias.

ii) No person shall be compelled to join a military force. Persons under the age of 18 shall not be permitted to join a military force.

iii) There shall be no deployment of military forces on British territory, except: in the interests of the defence of a territory against ongoing or imminent military attack by a foreign power, or for the purposes of disaster relief, or for training in designated areas.

iv) Foreign deployment of military forces shall be permitted only when authorised by the government. Except for the situations in v) below, the government shall not be permitted to order deployment of troops except: with the authorisation of parliament via a majority vote of the House of Commons, and pursuant to a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations, or in the fulfilment of NATO treaty obligations, or at the request of the government of a foreign state.

v) Government shall be permitted to order foreign deployment of military forces without prior authorisation of parliament for the following activities: defence of British territory; peacekeeping; disaster relief; the removal of British citizens from danger; foreign training activities.

vi) British military forces, wherever deployed, shall be subject to the laws of war as set out in the Geneva Conventions and Protocols.

vii) Except when on foreign deployment, members of military forces will be subject to the law of the land at all times, and offences shall be tried in civilian courts. Military courts shall be restricted to consideration of breaches of military discipline or rules only.

viii) The state shall make proper provision for the support of current and former members of military forces via a military covenant.

ix) The production, maintenance, storage and testing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons shall be banned in all British Territories. Military forces shall be banned from using such weapons in all circumstances.

 

-----------

Millions marched against the Iraq War, yet the government was able to pursue it in spite of public interest and the lack of a UN resolution. It's time for the Constitution to clearly set out how and where the military can operate. 

Proposal: That the role of the British Military should be clearly set out within a constitutional framework. This would include overarching principles for:

  • The conditions on which military action can be pursued (I suggest restricting to resolutions of the UN Security Council, in relation to treaty obligations, and to defend our sovereignty). 
  • The conditions in which the military can act on British sovereign territory during peacetime (I suggest for purposes related to training and in support and under the command of the emergency services during periods of extreme need). 
  • A prohibition on conscription in peacetime, and specific protection for conscientious objectors in wartime. To include a constitutional ban on child soldiers (
  • A military covenant, setting out the duty and the responsibility of the state to individuals who volunteer to serve. 
  • Military to be subject at all times to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, with breaches subject to prosecution in civilian rather than military courts. Court martials to be restricted to breaches of military discipline/law; serious (felony) offences to be tried in civilian court. 
edited on Apr 18, 2015 by Daniel Gaunt

Daniel Gaunt Apr 5, 2015

During the previous phase, there weren't really any alternative suggestions on this topic. I'm going to add for discussion one thing missing though - a constitutional ban on private militias. 

The Military

i) The state shall be permitted to recruit, train and deploy military forces in accordance with the following principles. There shall be no private militias. 

ii) No person shall be compelled to join a military force. Persons under the age of 18 shall not be permitted to join a military force.

iii) Foreign deployment of military forces shall be permitted only when authorised by the government. For activities other than defence of British territory, peacekeeping, disaster relief or the removal of British citizens from danger, the government shall not be permitted to order deployment of troops except with the authorisation of parliament via a majority vote of the House of Commons and pursuant to a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations or in the fulfillment of NATO treaty obligations. 

iv) There shall be no deployment of troops on British territory, except for in the interests of the defence of a territory against ongoing or imminent military attack by a foreign power, for the purposes of disaster relief, or for training in designated areas. 

v) British forces, wherever deployed, shall be subject to the laws of war as set out in the Geneva Conventions. 

vi) Members of the military will be subject to the law of the land at all times, and offences shall be tried in civilian courts. Military courts shall be restricted to consideration of breaches of military discipline or rules only. 

vii) The state shall make proper provision for the support of current and former members of the military via a military covenant. 

laure roux Apr 5, 2015

 

Here is a link towards another idea discussing the same topic, by crossing these ideas together we will be able to refine the ideas, and reduce the global number of ideas on the platform

https://constitutionuk.com/category/2849#/post/80761

Daniel Gaunt Apr 5, 2015

Laure - Tinahy already closed the other thread at the end of the last stage. 

laure roux Apr 5, 2015

Yes you are right, but it was just to let you know that you can take what was said about it when refining your own idea. Oh but you can't access it, I see, sorry then just take into account the comments that we posted regarding your own idea. best, Laure. 

Users tagged:

Daniel Gaunt Apr 7, 2015

To bring in the idea 'Choice about funding foreign wars' - how does anyone see this working?

For various reasons I thought it was a totally impractical and undesirable approach which I voted down, but I'm interested to hear from the originator (IanSmith1) or anyone else with an as to how this provision might be incorporated. 

Users tagged:

Daniel Gaunt Apr 7, 2015

Further change to incorporate a ban on nuclear weapons:

viii) The production, maintenance, storage and testing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons shall be banned in all British Territories. 

Do we need a transitional provision related to the phasing out of Trident? 

 

Users tagged:

laure roux Apr 11, 2015

De Gauntier your last clause correpond to Harry Blain idea right? SHould I close Harry Blain idea or do you have anymore suggestion before I do so?

Scott Wilson Apr 13, 2015

Comments on degauntier's proposal:

Clause iii) does not make provision for other defence treaty commitments, which may go beyond NATO and should more generally state "defence treaty commitments".  It also does not admit that there are reasons beyond that and UNSC resolution that may justify action under international law.  For example, if Ireland were attacked (not a NATO member) and requested assistance from the UK (and the UNSC vetoed it because a permanent member was allied to the aggressor), it would be rather appalling if the Constitution stopped acting in defence of a close friend.

Clause iv) should allow for deployment under defence treaty commitments to be consistent with iii

I oppose Clause viii) as it was not part of the original proposal.  

Daniel Gaunt Apr 13, 2015

I've updated the original proposal with a draft to reflect the discussions so far.

I can see your point about defence treaty commitments - happy to take others' views and consider changing.

Deployment on British territory I included partly to prevent any scope for military coups etc. Deployment in British Territories isn't a treaty issue though, is it?

Clause viii) (now clause ix) was brought in as it was very heavily supported elsewhere, and it made sense to include as part of this overall heading.

 

Users tagged:

laure roux Apr 16, 2015

Thank you for the drafting of your final provision, it appears good to me and you have correctly integrated libertyscottuk's suggestion as well as harryblain's. Well done and thank you very much again.

Users tagged:

Share