October 22, 2013
The McGeorge Military Law Society hosted Army Brigadier General Mark S. Martins, the Chief Prosecutor for the Military Commissions, on Oct. 10, 2013 for a public lecture and other events.
Martins began his visit to the McGeorge campus as the guest lecturer in Professor John Sims' International Protection of Human Rights class. The lecture was followed by a faculty luncheon at the McGeorge House where faculty members discussed General Martins' experience as the Chief Prosecutor and some of his challenges with the Military Commissions.
At 4 p.m., in the McGeorge Courtroom, students from the Mock Trial Competition Team and the McGeorge Military Law Society held a mock pre-trial motion session regarding the exclusion of evidence in a Military Commission setting. The students presented legal arguments using United States Supreme Court precedents and the Military Commissions Rules of Evidence with General Martins acting as judge for the proceedings.
Martins then gave a public lecture in the Courtroom that focused on the Military Commissions and activities at Guantanamo Bay, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
"It was a privilege for us to host Brigadier General Martins, and his class and discussion were great opportunities for the McGeorge community to engage in an important legal discussion with the leader in that field of law," said Josh Hunsucker, President of the Military Law Society.
Martins wrapped up his visit to McGeorge on Friday, Oct. 11, with a 5-mile run along the Sacramento River with members of the Military Law Society and a breakfast event with McGeorge alumni, students, and local military veteran judges.
In September 2011, Brigadier General Martins became Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions. Over the previous year, in Afghanistan, Martins was commander of the Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan and of the dual-hat NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission. The prior year, also in Afghanistan, he had served as the first and Interim Commander of Joint Task Force 435 and then as its first Deputy Commander upon Senate Confirmation of Vice Admiral Robert Harward. In these roles, Brigadier General Martins led the effort to reform United States detention operations in Afghanistan and provided field support to Afghan and international civilian rule of law project teams in contested provinces of the country. Immediately prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, Brigadier General Martins co-led the interagency Detention Policy Task Force created by President Obama in January 2009. Commissioned in the infantry after graduating first in order of merit from the United States Military Academy in 1983, Brigadier General Martins served as a platoon leader and staff officer in the 82d Airborne Division. He then became a judge advocate and has since served in a variety of legal and non-legal positions. These have included criminal trial counsel, operational lawyer, staff judge advocate, chief of staff, and commander. He has been deployed to zones of armed conflict for more than five years, including service as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Kosovo Force, Staff Judge Advocate for First Armored Division and then Multi-National Force—Iraq, and his recent duties with Rule of Law Field Support Teams across eight provinces and twenty-three key districts in Afghanistan.
Brigadier General Martins is a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol College, P.P.E., 1st Class Honours, 1985) and a graduate of Harvard Law School (magna cum laude, 1990). He holds an L.L.M. in Military Law and a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy, having attended the Infantry and Judge Advocate Officer Basic courses, the Judge Advocate Graduate course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. He has published widely in professional journals.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (two awards), and the Army Meritorious Service Medal (multiple awards). He has also earned the Ranger Tab, Pathfinder Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. In April of 2011, Brigadier General Martins was awarded the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom.