Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement about the Department of Defense’s announcement that, beginning today, it will try sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command. Senator Gillibrand fought for this reform for nearly a decade.
“It was a long time coming, but as of today, military service members can start to rebuild trust in the military justice system. I am grateful for the years of tireless efforts from military sexual assault survivors and advocates,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This move will remove judicial functions and prosecutorial decisions about the most serious crimes from the chain of command and put them in the hands of independent, trained professionals. No one change will end the scourge of sexual violence within the services, but today’s step is a powerful reform toward that goal.”
More information is available here.
For nearly a decade, Gillibrand fought alongside survivors, veterans and legal experts to make this fundamental change and give these powers to trained, professional military prosecutors. This bipartisan reform was supported by leading veterans service organizations and advocacy groups, including VFW, IAVA, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Protect Our Defenders, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, SWAN, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Common Defense, and Veterans Recovery Project.