Non-US Citizen Civilian Contractors Can Be Court-martialed

In a landmark opinion, the military’s highest court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), in United States v. Ali, 71 M.J. 256 (2012) held that non-United States citizens that “serve with” a U.S. military forces overseas are subject to trial by court-martial. In principle, CAAF’s opinion opens a potential means for the United States military apparatus to hold noncitizens accountable for committing crimes.  In essence, CAAF held U.S. Constitutional protections, embodied in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments  inapplicable to this body of persons. This case will no doubt be subjected to further judicial review, and may likely be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, however, for now, the long arm jurisdiction of American military justice has caste itself around the globe, albeit only where our forces serve.


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