The National Command Authority has cited the dissolution of the Soviet Union as cause for the United States Military to expand its role. In addition to its traditional role of fighting wars, the military will take on new nontraditional roles promoting human rights and the rule of law throughout the world. These new military missions will include peacekeeping operations, humanitarian interventions, disaster relief missions, counter-drug activities, and nation-building activities.
As part of this initiative, the United States Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) provides legal assistance to the militaries of several emerging and struggling democracies. A number of foreign armies and defense ministries have turned to the JAGC for assistance in defining how the law can function properly in their military establishments and how the military should fit into a more democratic form of government intent on promoting human rights.
One outstanding example of how JAGC advocates have been involved in the promotion of these vital interests is the current “train the trainer” initiative in Peru. For this initiative, the International and Operational Law Division of the Office of The Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) developed and executed a human rights plan consisting of five phases. Among other things, this plan includes assisting six Peruvian military judge advocates in developing a comprehensive human rights training program for a broad based Peruvian audience, and training of the Peruvians to teach these classes effectively.
This Peruvian human rights initiative stands as a model for the future. While military might is absolutely necessary to ensure the protection of ideals of human rights and the rule of law, the United States’ strongest asset has always been the export of those ideals to the rest of the world. The Peru initiative should be emulated for its simplicity, its focus, and its potential impact throughout the world.
Jeffrey F. Addicott, JAG Corps Poised for New Defense Missions: Human Rights Training in Peru, Army Law. 78 (Feb. 1993).