Gillibrand Bill Takes Sex-Assault Prosecutions From Commanders

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation with bipartisan backing that would remove from military commanders the power to prosecute sexual assault and other major crimes.

“Clearly our system is broken,” Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said today at a press conference where she was flanked by senators and House members of both political parties. The bill would let independent military prosecutors who are outside the chain of command decide whether to take cases to a court-martial.

“This is the only way we can provide the unbiased justice that our victims need,” Gillibrand said.

While Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resisted the notion of removing prosecution power from the chain of command at a news conference last week, spokesman George Little said this week that all options are under consideration to curb attacks.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at

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