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Article 103 Captured or Abandoned Property

Article 103 deals with various situations involving the trading of property that has been seized from the enemy or taken into custody after abandonment by the enemy. Any person who fails to report such property to the right authorities is also charged with violating this article. Under this article, 'enemy' refers to any civilian or military group that constitutes opposition forces to the United States army.

a) Failing to secure the public property that has been taken from the enemy

Elements:

  • That specific public property was taken/ seized from the enemy .
  • That the property had a specific value.
  • That at a specific time/ place, the accused did not carry out the necessary actions as any responsible person would have done to secure this property in the name of the country .

Maximum Punishment: The maximum punishment may vary depending on the value of the property seized or captured from the enemy. For failure to secure property that is valued less than or equal to $500, the accused faces maximum punishment of bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and six months confinement. For failing to secure firearms or explosives seized from the enemy or any seized/ captured property that is valued above $500, the accused faces maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and five years confinement.

b) Failing to turn in or report abandoned or captured property

Elements:

  • That the accused gained possession, control or custody of some specific abandoned/ captured private or public property.
  • That the property had specific value.
  • That the accused failed to report the receipt of this property and/ or failed to turn over the property to the right authorities without any undue delay.

Note: Here, 'right authority' means a person who has the authority to determine how the property should be disposed of.

Maximum Punishment: The accused faces maximum punishment of bad conduct discharge, six months confinement and forfeiture of all pay and allowances if the captured/ abandoned property is valued less than or equal to $500. For failure to report or turn in property valued more than $500 or firearms or explosives captured from the enemy or seized after abandonment by the enemy, the accused faces maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and five years confinement.

c) Dealing in abandoned or captured property

Elements:

  • That at a specific time and place, the accused sold/ purchased/ traded in/ otherwise disposed of private or public, abandoned or captured property which is specified.
  • That the property had a specific value.
  • That, the accused through his act of selling/ buying/ trading or otherwise dealing in the property, gained some profit or advantage for himself or for a person directly or indirectly connected to him in a specific manner.

Maximum Punishment: The maximum punishment varies for this violation depending on the monetary value assigned to the captured/ abandoned property. For property valued $500 and below, the accused faces maximum punishment of bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and six months confinement. For violations involving property valued over $500 the accused faces dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and five years confinement as maximum punishment. The latter punishment is applicable if the accused is found guilty of dealing in captured firearms and explosives as well.

d) Pillaging or Looting

Elements:

  • That at a specific time and place, the accused was involved in pillaging and looting by unlawful seizure of specific property .
  • That this unlawfully seized property: a) was seized from enemy territory, or b) was seized from a captured enemy vessel .
  • That this unlawfully seized property was: a) in the custody of/ left by/ owned by the enemy or an inhabitant of an enemy occupied territory or any person who was under the enemy's protection, b) part of a seized or captured vessel's equipment, c) in the custody of/ owned by the crew, passengers or officers of a seized vessel.

Maximum Punishment: The accused faces dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and life sentence without parole eligibility as maximum punishment for violating this article.

For more details on this article, refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

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