Military justice is a judicial system for a special type of courts which are military courts. Those courts are handled by the armed forces officers and are under the general management of its top leadership departments. Military justice is continuous, and disciplinary to follow the disciplinary provisions of the military. It was established by the issuance of a chapter specific for military courts in the Police Act of 1990.
This judiciary is concerned with the crimes committed by military and security forces members, or crimes that happen on sites operated by the military forces. Article (62) in the Basic statute of the State that "The jurisdiction of military courts is limited to military offenses by members of the armed forces and security and does not extend to other parties except in the case of martial law and in accordance to the limits prescribed by law." Military justice includes the following authorities:
Military prosecutors investigate crimes committed by military men and police officers, and the crimes that are not committed by them but associated to equipments, weapons, ammunition, documents or secrets related to the police or cases where the crime scene is located in a spot occupied by the police in any way. Military courts are divided into three sections:
- The Supreme Military Court:
This court is concerned with criminal and disciplinary offenses committed by police officers with lieutenant-colonel or higher ranks or any of them contributing in one. In addition, it considers criminal offenses committed by policemen holding ranks from officers to majors and other military ranks.
The Supreme Court consists of three officers headed by one of them provided that his rank is not lower than colonel; prosecution in Supreme Military Court’s session is represented by officers. A secretary shall write down the whole session and all the decisions issued within it. The Court may also consist of up to five officers. It is important to mention that this court is not a high charging degree but rather a degree of subject-matter jurisdiction to a specific type, and a certain category of cases and officers only. It is also not a court of law for it cannot be more than one Supreme Court in the country.
- Military tribunal for officers:
This court is concerned with misdemeanors and disciplinary crimes committed or contributed to commission by police officers until the rank of Major. The appeal of its verdicts are set before the Supreme Military Court and this tribunal consists of officers holding no less than the rank of Major and can consist of three officers.
- The military court for other ranks:
This is a court for military men below officers, concerned with irregularities and disciplinary offenses they commit or contribute to. This court consists of an officer who must not be below the rank of captain or first lieutenant.
It should be noted here that the powers vested to public prosecution does not differ from those vested to military prosecutor. However, military prosecutor is only concerned with cases related to police officers and all police attaches.
The Inspector General has full authority to assign investigations in military crimes to non-military prosecutor, as well as the authority to ratify decisions of discharging police men below officers without the authority of ratifying decisions of dismissing officers, which can be ratified only by His Majesty.
Military Judicial competence
Article (14) of the Military Judicial Law states its competence, as follows:
"The following categories are subject to the provisions of this law even after they finish their service whenever the crimes occur within its competence, or were connected to the secrets of the function, unless they passed by time:
- Members of the armed and security forces: officers and other ranks and civilians and students of colleges and institutes and centers of military training.
- Retired officers and other ranks and civilians and reserve forces as soon as they are called to military service.
- Volunteers for military service.
- Prisoners of war.
- Members of friendly forces, allies, seconded Scholarship holders for training or contractors in the event of their presence on the territory of the Sultanate, unless stated in the agreement concluded by the Sultanate otherwise."
Article (15) defines the crimes that falls within the scope of military justice:
"Military courts have jurisdiction in the following offenses:
- Crimes stipulated in this Law.
- Crimes stipulated in the Omani Penal Code or any other law committed by any of the subject to the provisions of this law in the camps or other military or security areas.
- Crimes committed because of duty performance."