Mutiny

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The mutiny on the Bounty was one of the most famous instances of mutiny which took place at sea. Mutiny HMS Bounty.jpg
The mutiny on the Bounty was one of the most famous instances of mutiny which took place at sea.

Mutiny is a revolt among a group of people (typically of a military, of a crew or of a crew of pirates) to oppose, change, or overthrow an organization to which they were previously loyal. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against an internal force, but it can also sometimes mean any type of rebellion against any force. Mutiny does not necessarily need to refer to a military force and can describe a political, economic, or power structure in which there is a change of power.

Contents

During the Age of Discovery, mutiny particularly meant open rebellion against a ship's captain. This occurred, for example, during Ferdinand Magellan's journeys around the world, resulting in the killing of one mutineer, the execution of another, and the marooning of others; on Henry Hudson's Discovery, resulting in Hudson and others being set adrift in a boat; and the notorious mutiny on the Bounty.

Penalty

Those convicted of mutiny often faced capital punishment.

United Kingdom

Until 1689, mutiny was regulated in England by Articles of War instituted by the monarch and effective only in a period of war. In 1689, the first Mutiny Act was approved, which passed the responsibility to enforce discipline within the military to Parliament. The Mutiny Act, altered in 1803, and the Articles of War defined the nature and punishment of mutiny until the latter were replaced by the Army Discipline and Regulation Act in 1879. This, in turn, was replaced by the Army Act in 1881.

Today the Army Act 1955 defines mutiny as follows: [1]

Mutiny means a combination between two or more persons subject to service law, or between persons two at least of whom are subject to service law—

(a) to overthrow or resist lawful authority in Her Majesty's forces or any forces co-operating therewith or in any part of any of the said forces,
(b) to disobey such authority in such circumstances as to make the disobedience subversive of discipline, or with the object of avoiding any duty or service against, or in connection with operations against, the enemy, or
(c) to impede the performance of any duty or service in Her Majesty's forces or in any forces co-operating therewith or in any part of any of the said forces.

The same definition applies in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

The military law of England in early times existed, like the forces to which it applied, in a period of war only. Troops were raised for a particular service and were disbanded upon the cessation of hostilities. The crown, by prerogative, made laws known as Articles of War for the government and discipline of the troops while thus embodied and serving. Except for the punishment of desertion, which was made a felony by statute in the reign of Henry VI, these ordinances or Articles of War remained almost the sole authority for enforcing discipline until 1689. That year, the first Mutiny Act was passed and the military forces of the crown were brought under the direct control of Parliament. Even the Parliamentary forces in the time of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell were governed not by an act of the legislature, but by articles of war similar to those issued by the king and authorized by an ordinance of the Lords and Commons exercising in that respect the sovereign prerogative. This power of law-making by prerogative was however held to be applicable during a state of actual war only, and attempts to exercise it in times of peace were ineffectual. Subject to this limitation, it existed for considerably more than a century after the passing of the first Mutiny Act.

From 1689 to 1803, the Mutiny Act occasionally expired during times of peace. Yet statutory power was given to the crown to make Articles of War that operated in the colonies and elsewhere beyond the seas in the same manner as those made by prerogative in times of war.

In 1715, in consequence of the rebellion, this power was created in respect of the forces in the kingdom, but apart from and in no respect affected the principle acknowledged all this time that the crown of its mere prerogative could make laws for the government of the army in foreign countries in time of war.

The Mutiny Act of 1803 effected a great constitutional change in this respect: the power of the crown to make any Articles of War became altogether statutory, and the prerogative merged in the act of Parliament. The Mutiny Act 1873 was passed in this manner.

Such matters remained until 1879 when the last Mutiny Act was passed and the last Articles of War were promulgated. The Mutiny Act legislated for offences in respect of which death or penal servitude could be awarded. Meanwhile, the Articles of War, while repeating those provisions of the act, constituted the direct authority for dealing with offences for which imprisonment was the maximum punishment, as well as with many matters relating to trial and procedure.

The act and the articles were found not to harmonize in all respects. Their general arrangement was faulty, and their language sometimes obscure. In 1869, a royal commission recommended that both should be recast in a simple and intelligible shape. In 1878, a committee of the House of Commons endorsed this view and made recommendations for performing the task. In 1879, a measure was passed into law consolidating in one act both the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War, and amending their provisions in certain important respects. This measure was called the Army Discipline and Regulation Act 1879.

After one or two years of experience highlighted the need for improvement, it was superseded by the Army Act 1881, which formed the foundation and main portion of the military law of England. The act contained a proviso saving the right of the crown to make Articles of War, but in such a manner as to render the power in effect a nullity by enacting that no crime made punishable by the act shall be otherwise punishable by such articles. As the punishment of every conceivable offence was provided, any articles made under the act could be no more than an empty formality having no practical effect.

Thus the history of English military law up to 1879 may be divided into three periods, each having a distinct constitutional aspect: (I) prior to 1689, the army, being regarded as so many personal retainers of the sovereign rather than servants of the state, was mainly governed by the will of the sovereign; (2) between 1689 and 1803, the army, being recognised as a permanent force, was governed within the realm by statute and without it by the prerogative of the crown; and (3) from 1803 to 1879, it was governed either directly by statute or by the sovereign under an authority derived from and defined and limited by statute. Although in 1879 the power of making Articles of War became in effect inoperative, the sovereign was empowered to make rules of procedure, having the force of law, to regulate the administration of the act in many matters formerly dealt with by the Articles of War. These rules, however, must not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Army Act itself, and must be laid before parliament immediately after they are made. Thus in 1879, the government and discipline of the army became for the first time completely subject either to the direct action or the close supervision of Parliament.

A further notable change took place at the same time. The Mutiny Act had been brought into force on each occasion for one year only, in compliance with the constitutional theory:

that the maintenance of a standing army in time of peace, unless with the consent of parliament, is against law. Each session therefore the text of the act had to be passed through both Houses clause by clause and line by line. The Army Act, on the other hand, is a fixed permanent code. But constitutional traditions are fully respected by the insertion in it of a section providing that it shall come into force only by virtue of an annual act of parliament. This annual act recites the illegality of a standing army in time of peace unless with the consent of parliament, and the necessity nevertheless of maintaining a certain number of land forces (exclusive of those serving in India) and a body of royal marine forces on shore, and of keeping them in exact discipline, and it brings into force the Army Act for one year.

Sentence

Until 1998 mutiny and another offence of failing to suppress or report a mutiny were each punishable with death. [2] Section 21(5) of the Human Rights Act 1998 completely abolished the death penalty in the United Kingdom. (Prior to this, the death penalty had already been abolished for murder, but it had remained in force for certain military offences and treason, although no executions had been carried out for several decades.) This provision was not required by the European Convention on Human Rights, since Protocol 6 of the Convention permitted the death penalty in time of war, and Protocol 13, which prohibits the death penalty for all circumstances, did not then exist. The UK government introduced section 21(5) as a late amendment in response to parliamentary pressure.

United States

The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice defines mutiny thus:

Art. 94. (§ 894.) 2004 Mutiny or Sedition.
(a) Any person subject to this code (chapter) who—
(1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;
(2) with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;
(3) fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition.
(b) A person who is found guilty of attempted mutiny, mutiny, sedition, or failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

U.S. military law requires obedience only to lawful orders. Disobedience to unlawful orders (see Superior orders) is the obligation of every member of the U.S. military, a principle established by the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials following World War II and reaffirmed in the aftermath of the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. However, a U.S. soldier who disobeys an order after deeming it unlawful will almost certainly be court-martialed to determine whether the disobedience was proper. In addition, simple refusal to obey is not mutiny, which requires collaboration or conspiracy to disobedience.

Famous mutinies in history

16th century

17th century

18th century

The mutineers turning Lt Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from HMAV Bounty, 29 April 1789, published by B. B. Evans Mutiny HMS Bounty.jpg
The mutineers turning Lt Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from HMAV Bounty, 29 April 1789, published by B. B. Evans

19th century

20th century

After World War II

21st century

See also

Related Research Articles

A court-martial or court martial is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment. In addition, courts-martial may be used to try prisoners of war for war crimes. The Geneva Conventions require that POWs who are on trial for war crimes be subject to the same procedures as would be the holding military's own forces. Finally, courts-martial can be convened for other purposes, such as dealing with violations of martial law, and can involve civilian defendants.

Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying a lawful order of one's superior. It is generally a punishable offense in hierarchical organizations such as the armed forces, which depend on people lower in the chain of command obeying orders.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kiel mutiny</span> Revolt by sailors of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Indian Navy mutiny</span> 1946 strikes and revolts by Indian sailors in British Indias navy

The Royal Indian Navy mutiny or revolt, also called the 1946 Naval Uprising, was an insurrection of Indian naval ratings, soldiers, police personnel and civilians against the British government in India. From the initial flashpoint in Bombay, the revolt spread and found support throughout British India, from Karachi to Calcutta, and ultimately came to involve over 20,000 sailors in 78 ships and shore establishments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Naval brigade</span>

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The Articles of War are a set of regulations drawn up to govern the conduct of a country's military and naval forces. The first known usage of the phrase is in Robert Monro's 1637 work His expedition with the worthy Scot's regiment called Mac-keyes regiment etc. and can be used to refer to military law in general. In Swedish, the equivalent term Krigsartiklar, is first mentioned in 1556. However, the term is usually used more specifically and with the modern spelling and capitalisation to refer to the British regulations drawn up in the wake of the Glorious Revolution and the United States regulations later based on them.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chilean naval mutiny of 1931</span> Revolt by sailors of the Chilean Navy

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">1915 Singapore Mutiny</span> Mutiny

The 1915 Singapore Mutiny, also known as the 1915 Sepoy Mutiny or the Mutiny of the 5th Light Infantry, was a mutiny involving up to half of a regiment of 850 Indian Muslim sepoys against the British in Singapore during the First World War. The mutiny, on 15 February 1915, lasted nearly seven days. It resulted in the deaths of eight British officers and soldiers, two Malay officers and one soldier, 14 British civilians, five Chinese and Malay civilians and one German internee before it was finally quelled by British forces and Allied naval detachments.

HMAS <i>Moresby</i> (1918)

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Military courts of the United Kingdom</span>

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During April 1947, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) experienced a series of non-violent mutinies amongst the enlisted sailors of four ships and two shore bases. Over 20% of the RNZN's enlisted personnel were punished or discharged for their involvement. The main cause was the poor rates of pay compared to the rest of the New Zealand Defence Force and equivalent civilian wages, exacerbated by the release of a long overdue government review which failed to address the issue. Sailors saw the new pay rates as still inferior to the other branches of the military, with the increases being consumed by taxes, inflation, and the cancellation of allowances and benefits. The poor living and working conditions aboard RNZN ships was another issue, compounded by sailors having no effective way to make dissatisfaction known to the higher ranks. Dissatisfaction with peacetime duties and opportunities also contributed, with many sailors locked into enlistment periods of up to 12 years, and demobilisation efforts prioritising those enlisted specifically for the duration of World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Revolt of the Lash</span> 1910 naval incident that occurred in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Revolt of the Lash was a naval mutiny in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in late November 1910. It was the direct result of the use of whips ("lashes") by white naval officers when punishing Afro-Brazilian and mixed-race enlisted sailors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kronstadt rebellion</span> 1921 uprising against the Bolshevik government in Kronstadt, Russian SFSR

The Kronstadt rebellion was a 1921 insurrection of Soviet sailors and civilians against the Bolshevik government in the Russian SFSR port city of Kronstadt. Located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland, Kronstadt defended the former capital city, Petrograd, as the base of the Baltic Fleet. For sixteen days in March 1921, rebels in Kronstadt's naval fortress rose in opposition to the Soviet government they had helped to consolidate. Led by Stepan Petrichenko, it was the last major revolt against the Bolshevik regime on Russian territory during the Russian Civil War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Baltic Fleet during the October Revolution and Russian Civil War</span> Fleet of ships that played an important role during the October Revolution and Russian Civil War

The Russian Baltic Fleet played an important role during the October Revolution and Russian Civil War. During the October Revolution the sailors of the Baltic Fleet were among the most ardent supporters of Bolsheviks, and formed an elite among Red military forces. Some ships of the fleet took part in the Russian Civil War, notably by clashing with the British navy operating in the Baltic as part of intervention forces. Over the years, however, the relations of the Baltic Fleet sailors with the Bolshevik regime soured, and they eventually rebelled against the Soviet government in the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921, but were defeated, and the Fleet de facto ceased to exist as an active military unit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1936 Naval Revolt</span> Mutiny in the Portuguese Navy in 1936

The 1936 Naval Revolt or Tagus boats mutiny was a mutiny in Portugal that occurred on 8 September 1936 aboard the aviso Afonso de Albuquerque and destroyer Dão. It was organized by the Revolutionary Organization of the Fleet, a left-wing group with links to the Portuguese Communist Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Army Act</span> United Kingdom legislation

Until 1689, mutiny was regulated in England by Articles of War instituted by the monarch and effective only in a period of war. This abuse of the crown's prerogative caused Parliament to pass the Petition of Right in 1628. This Act stated that neither civilians nor soldiers and officers who were in England during peace were subject to military courts or law. Only common-law courts and courts of equity could exercise authority over individuals in peacetime England. Because the articles of war did not fall under these court's jurisdiction, military law could not be applied to anyone in England, whether soldier or civilian.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1964 Sailors' Revolt</span> Conflict between the Brazilian Navy and the Association of Sailors

The Sailors' Revolt was a conflict between the Brazilian Navy authorities and the Association of Sailors and Marines of Brazil (AMFNB) from March 25 to 27, 1964, taking place in Rio de Janeiro at the Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos, Arsenal de Marinha, and Armada ships. Its outcome, negotiated by João Goulart's government, outraged the perpetrators of the coup d'état a few days later, and was thus one of its immediate antecedents.

References

  1. Army Act (1955) c.18 - Part II Discipline and Trial and Punishment of Military Offences: Mutiny and insubordination, The UK Statute Law Database.
  2. Army Act (1955) c.18 Part II Discipline and Trial and Punishment of Military Offences, UK Statute Law Database.
  3. Parker, G. (2004) The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road 1567–1659. Second edition. Cambridge U.P., ISBN   978-0-521-54392-7, ch.8
  4. "Unidentified Young Man". World Digital Library . 1839–1840. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  5. Memmott, Jim (November 20, 2017), "Jim Memmott: A high-seas mutiny with a Canandaigua connection", Democrat & Chronicle (USA Today), Rochester, retrieved May 30, 2019
  6. Druett, Joan (2003). In the Wake of Madness. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
  7. Garret FitzGerald Reflections On The Foundation of the Irish State Archived 2011-03-19 at the Wayback Machine , University College Cork, April 2003
  8. Irish Times March 10th, 1924 10 Mar 2012
  9. Though 50 sailors were convicted of mutiny after the Port Chicago disaster, there is some question as to whether there was a conspiracy, a prerequisite of mutiny, rather than simple refusal to obey a lawful order. All of the sailors were willing to do any other task except load ammunition under unsafe conditions.
  10. AP (1984-07-02). "General Promises To Punish Sikh Mutineers". The New York Times . India; Amritsar (India); Punjab State (India). Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  11. "Operation Blue Star 1984 Golden Temple Attack Sikhs". Sikhmuseum.com. 1984-06-11. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  12. "Yorkshire Regiment soldiers jailed for sit-in protest". BBC News. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  13. "BREAKING: Nigerian Military Sentences 54 Soldiers To Death For Mutiny". Sahara Reporters. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  14. "Nigerian soldiers given death penalty for mutiny". BBC News . 17 December 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  15. Рагуцька, Лілія (2022-02-26). "У Білгороді 5 тис. контрактників влаштували бунт та відмовилися їхати воювати з Україною. Ексклюзив". OBOZREVATEL NEWS (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  16. Balevic, Katie. "Pentagon official says Russian troops have 'deliberately punched holes' in their own gas tanks in apparent attempts to avoid combat as morale declines: report". Business Insider. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  17. "Mass surrender, sabotage of own equipment – Pentagon on Russian military units". Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  18. "Russian young marine conscripts staged a riot against landing in Odessa". odessa-journal.com. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  19. Дібров, Сергій (February 28, 2022). "Russian Marine conscripts riot when ordered to land 'straight to Odessa'". Dumskaya. Retrieved February 28, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. Российский военный переехал на танке своего командира в отместку за гибель товарищей в боях под Киевом
  21. Russian troops attack own commanding officer after suffering heavy losses

Further reading