13th August 2014 saw the CJC’s Military Justice Project (“MJP”) hold its very first major event, the MJP Roundtable Discussion. The Roundtable brought together various legal experts in the military justice system to give participants deeper insight into the workings of the system.
Though the military justice system may be easily dismissed by many a National Serviceman as just another one of those faceless features of National Service, the Roundtable helped show that this is an area of law that is very much alive and relevant to everyday Singaporeans. With every Singaporean son coming under military law at some point during their lives, this area of law is unfortunately inadequately understood by many. This Roundtable thus served as an important platform to promote interest in this area of law.
From left to right: Mr. Jon Ong, Professor Kevin Tan, District Judge Christopher Goh, Mr. Amolat Singh and Mr. Josephus Tan
The MJP was most privileged to have District Judge Christopher Goh, Mr. Josephus Tan and Mr. Amolat Singh as the panelists for the event. Between the three of them, they commanded more than 50 years experience in both the SAF and in the legal industry. They were joined by Mr. Jon Ong, the Head of Military Law in MINDEF Legal Services, who offered a glimpse into the various considerations MINDEF makes handling the military justice system. Professor Kevin Tan kept the Round-Table at an informal atmosphere, ably juggling questions and light banter between our panelists.
Salient points from the Round-Table included the various differences between the military courts and the normal “civilian” courts of Singapore as well as the military court’s role on a disciplinary tribunal.
This area of law is not merely just one for the “boys club” but instead forms a steady backbone to the hallowed institution of National Service in Singapore. We hope that the Round-Table served as an insightful introduction to the military justice system and that this would mark the start of a resurgence in interest vis-à-vis this area of law.