THE CIRCUMSTANCE AND PURPOSES OF THE REFORM OF MILITARY ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE (Przeslanki i cele reformy sadownictwa wojskowego)
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In any country, the structure of courts is a consequence of long evolution, on the one hand, and the result of adoption of a particular concept of administration of justice. Military administration of justice provides an evident example of this rule. Some democratic constitutions expressly prohibit creation of military courts in time of peace (e.g. in. Austria), others do not provide for their existence (e.g. in Germany and Norway), but there are also basic laws which recognize them as an element of the judicial power. Such is the case in Poland and, inter alia, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Canada, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. In those countries military courts form an individual system of judicial bodies, separate from common courts. They are generally responsible for administration of justice in criminal cases within the armed forces. Poland's Constitution of 1997 provides only that ‘The administration of justice in the Republic of Poland shall be implemented the Supreme Court, the common courts, administrative courts and military courts' (Article 175(1)). Functioning of military courts is regulated in detail by the Act of 21 August 1997 – Law on the System of Military Courts. In the years 2000–2009, system transformation has taken place, whose consequences are considerably affecting military administration of justice, including: 1) unification of penal procedures and the system of courts; 2) limitation of material competence of the military courts, resulting in a decreasing number of cases heard by these courts; 3) considerable reduction of the size of the armed forces and, consequently, the reduction of the number of persons under jurisdiction of military courts. The developments referred to in the paragraph (1) above, makes military courts more similar to common courts. Therefore, their specificity has been reduced, with their raison d'etre undermined. The other conditions enumerated above have led to reduction of the number of cases heard. This necessitates appropriate organizational changes which may take the form of: 1) an amendment of Poland's Constitution (Article 175(1), Article 183(1) and Article 187(1)(2) to abolish military courts; 2) adoption of statutory provisions adjusting the functioning and organization of military courts to the current legal and social realities, with maintenance of the existing constitutional regulations.
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