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The Military Prosecutor

Although the chief military prosecutor remains structurally subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense, since 1990 the scope of the military prosecutor's activities has been defined by the Ministry of Justice. This change adds another dimension of civilian control over the military. In the communist era, the military prosecutor's office acted as a specialized military command staffed by political officers, charged with maintaining party control in the armed forces, and given authority to interfere in civilian life to enforce "respect for the law."

The reform and integration of the military prosecutor's office into the general justice system was a high priority of the first Solidarity-led government in 1989. As part of the general overhaul of the justice system embodied in the 1990 Law on the Prosecution Office, the chief military prosecutor became a deputy of the minister of justice (who also served as prosecutor general), appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the ministers of justice and national defense. In his role as prosecutor general, the minister of justice makes all top military justice appointments in consultation with the minister of national defense; the minister of justice is also consulted on all special assignments given military prosecutors. The Office of the Chief Military Prosecutor also is assigned oversight of decisions by military bodies that might controvert civilian law.

Data as of October 1992