The Guardian interviews an Australian legal researcher who has been examining the different ways — past and present — in which courts in that country have been handling different types of cases involving war veterans.
“I found much earlier in the century, with more positive associations around war and less controversy, treatment of veterans by the courts was correspondingly more focussed on the heroism and sacrifices that person had made for the benefit of the country,” the researcher tells The Guardian.
But after the controversial Vietnam War, there was a shift.
“It becomes quite clear that after Vietnam, veterans as distinct and special became more based in their diminished status, and wrapped up in an idea of incapacity, trauma and diminished autonomy and therefore, diminished responsibility.”
Other contradictions and complexities frequently emerging in the cases have led the researcher to suggest a more specialized court may be needed.
Mental health wounds of veteran defendants create tough choices in courts (The Guardian, April 24, 2015)