UCMJ – United States Code of Military Justice

843. ARTICLE 43. Statute of limitations

07. Trial Procedure

(a) A person charged with absence without leave or missing movement in time of war, with murder, rape, or rape of a child, or with any other offense punishable by death, may be tried and punished at any time without limitation.
(b)
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section (article), a person charged with an offense is not liable to be tried by court-martial if the offense was committed more than five years before the receipt of sworn charges and specifications by an officer exercising summary court-martial jurisdiction over the command.
(2)
(A) A person charged with having committed a child abuse offense against a child is liable to be tried by court-martial if the sworn charges and specifications are received during the life of the child or within five years after the date on which the offense was committed, whichever provides a longer period, by an officer exercising summary court-martial jurisdiction with respect to that person.
(B) In subparagraph (A), the term “child abuse offense” means an act that involves abuse of a person who has not attained the age of 16 years and constitutes any of the following offenses:
(i) Any offense in violation of section 920 of this title (article 120).
(ii) Maiming in violation of section 924 of this title (article 124).
(iii) Sodomy in violation of section 925 of this title (article 125).
(iv) Aggravated assault or assault consummated by a battery in violation of section 928 of this title (article 128).
(v) Kidnaping; [1] indecent assault; [1] assault with intent to commit murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, or sodomy, or indecent acts or liberties with a child in violation of section 934 of this title (article 134).
(C) In subparagraph (A), the term “child abuse offense” includes an act that involves abuse of a person who has not attained the age of 18 years and would constitute an offense under chapter 110 or 117 of title 18 or under section 1591 of that title.
(3) A person charged with an offense is not liable to be punished under section 815 of this title (article 15) if the offense was committed more than two years before the imposition of punishment.
(c) Periods in which the accused is absent without authority or fleeing from justice shall be excluded in computing the period of limitation prescribed in this section (article).
(d) Periods in which the accused was absent from territory in which the United States has the authority to apprehend him, or in the custody of civil authorities, or in the hands of the enemy, shall be excluded in computing the period of limitation prescribed in this article.
(e) For an offense the trial of which in time of war is certified to the President by the Secretary concerned to be detrimental to the prosecution of the war or inimical to the national security, the period of limitation prescribed in this article is extended to six months after the termination of hostilities as proclaimed by the President or by a joint resolution of Congress.
(f) When the United States is at war, the running of any statute of limitations applicable to any offense under this chapter—
(1) involving fraud or attempted fraud against the United States or any agency thereof in any manner, whether by conspiracy or not;
(2) committed in connection with the acquisition, care, handling, custody, control, or disposition of any real or personal property of the United States; or
(3) committed in connection with the negotiation, procurement, award, performance, payment, interim financing, cancellation, or other termination or settlement, of any contract, subcontract, or purchase order which is connected with or related to the prosecution of the war, or with any disposition of termination inventory by any war contractor or Government agency;
is suspended until three years after the termination of hostilities as proclaimed by the President or by a joint resolution of Congress.
(g)
(1) If charges or specifications are dismissed as defective or insufficient for any cause and the period prescribed by the applicable statute of limitations—
(A) has expired; or
(B) will expire within 180 days after the date of dismissal of the charges and specifications,
trial and punishment under new charges and specifications are not barred by the statute of limitations if the conditions specified in paragraph (2) are met.
(2) The conditions referred to in paragraph (1) are that the new charges and specifications must—
(A) be received by an officer exercising summary court-martial jurisdiction over the command within 180 days after the dismissal of the charges or specifications; and
(B) allege the same acts or omissions that were alleged in the dismissed charges or specifications (or allege acts or omissions that were included in the dismissed charges or specifications).


6 Comments for this entry

  • Justin

    So I take it, if it is desertion and 5 years has passed from this article then they are past the statutes of limitations? If it was a time of war it seems like that doesn’t change unless I am misunderstanding this code. I am studying law.

    • Doug

      Desertion during time of war is punishable by death, therefore there is no statute of limitations. Additionally, see the next paragraph.

      It’s an interesting argument that the limitation applies to desertion during peace time but not AWOL but desertion is an continuing offense (i.e. the act of “remaining” away is itself a crime). I suppose if a peace time deserter is captured but is not prosecuted for five years, the charge would have to be AWOL.

  • Angela

    I’m currently separated from my husband he has abandoned the marriage without any support,he’s having an affair,he lies to his employer says he has military business when he’s with his mistress,he’s a bigamist and he didn’t report a domestic violent charge to his commander and he’s still in Air Force Reserve.Why is this person going around doing all these unlawful acts but yet the military is still paying him he is a disgrace to the United States Air Force.What and Who can I contact?

  • Michelle

    Good luck Angela. I was in the Army and suffered many unlawful acts by other soldiers . There was never any justice. I told many officers of my predicament and nothing ever happened. The UCMJ seems to only cover if the offenses are commuted against the people’s of other countries not our own.

  • Rhonda

    I’m and adult child of an Airforce Master Sargent who was molested by him were do I go for help?

    • jeff

      During the Vietnam war I was stationed in the Philippines in 1973. Drugs were planted in my locker by two NIS officers. I was charged and I went to a court marshal. A week before my trial the “Sargent of arms” of our barracks gave my lawyer his log book, It had an entry in it that he entered to the fact that he saw two NIS agents(by name) in and around my room the morning before they took me from my work to search my locker. In court the two agents stated that they were no where near my room that morning. My lawyer then pulled out the log book and showed the court the entry to the log book. they still denied that they were in my room that morning. the case against me was immediately dropped. Two weeks later two other NIS agents approached me and said if I bring a case against the two agents or the government that they would kill me and no one would ever find my body. I finished my four years in the Navy and got out. This always troubled me because I loved the navy and always wanted a carrier in the navy. I always felt cheated. does the statue of limitations apply during war in this type of case, and because it was military NIS that lied and ruined my life. Do I still have a chance at a case against the Government after all these years.

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