KADENA AIR BASE , OKINAWA, Japan – --
Service members from all U.S. military branches on Okinawa came together to share their knowledge of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice with local government agencies June 29 during a mock trial on Kadena Air Base.
Representatives from the Okinawa Prefecture Police, Naha District Prosecutors Office, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and the Okinawa Narcotics Control Office came to the mock trial to observe and learn about military law and trial procedures.
“Our goal today is to share information with our partners about how the legal system works,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. S. Charles Neill, senior Army staff judge advocate with 10th Regional Support Group. “This is a great opportunity as partners to share information and share knowledge.”
The mock trial was an all-day event that started with a discussion about the Uniformed Code of Military Justice manual. The U.S. military has to follow all state and federal laws in addition to military law. The UCMJ manual is the written law book that inform U.S. military members of offences that are detrimental to their career.
“The purpose of law is to maintain good order and discipline,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. C.J. Ginn, a legal officer with the Kadena Air Base legal office. “This is how we have an effective military.”
The mock trial began after the discussions about procedures and the law ended. The mock trial portrayed a U.S. Marine being charged with drug possession and liberty curfew violation. The trial was presented step-by-step, with discussion times placed throughout the trial for observers to ask questions and get a deeper explanation for each action.
“We have a smooth relationship, not only at the prosecution level, but at the investigation level with our Japanese counterparts,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Rachael Baker, a staff judge advocate with the Region Legal Service Office Japan. “This mock trial is just one more way to keep improving that relationship with knowledge.”