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In the OTU In the Official Traveller Universe. Any milieux that's been published in any edition. Not for discussion of rules except in reference to how they reflect the OTU

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Old February 27th, 2016, 02:35 PM
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Default Ministry of Justice

NOTE: in the thread about Imperial Weapons Permits Imperial Weapons Permits we mentioned the MoJ, and I realized how little I do know about it (even the article in the Wiki is quite short and gives little information, mostly referring to GT:Nobles, that I don’t own ), so I thought it could deserve a thread on its own.

In OTU, we know about several agencies that help the Imperium to run smoothly and combat crimes on it. From the local LE agencies to INI, Scouts Operatives to special empowered people (e.g. someone empowered by an Edict 97). Among those, one of the least discussed (at least AFAIK) is the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), that is rarely named and even less described or discussed about before Lucan converted it on a kind of Political Commissariat (as shown in MT:Arrival Vengeance).

What is its specific mission?

In principle, we could thing its mission is to enforce Imperial Law, but this Law is quite fuzzy. Also, in Early adventures (page 42) is told that Imperial Law is the law of exceptions, and that Nobles in particular feel that the enforcement of Imperial Law is their responsibility, although it is not necessarily their duty.

As I understand it, Imperial Law mainly is concerned with:
  • High Justice
  • Breaches of Imperial Rules of War
  • Any crime committed in Imperial Jurisdiction (extrality zones, Jump space, outside the 10 diameters, that is the standard accepted planetary jurisdiction, etc.)

According JTAS 14 (page 19), High Justice is usually prosecuted by Imperial Navy, Army and Marines, often assisted by the Security Branch of the Operation Office of the IISS.

Likewise, Imperial Rules of War are said to be enforced by the Imperial Military (mostly the Navy, as the main service).

Little (if anything) is said about prosecution or enforcing crimes that, while not of High Justice, are committed in Imperial Jurisdiction. In extrality zones, we can assume SPA enforces laws, while in jump space or any starship beyond planetary jurisdiction we can assume the ship’s own security enforces them.

But, while most of those agencies (ship’s security being the main exception) can be assumed to have their Judicial Branches, none of them are likely to have full courts where those cases could be seen and tried, nor is their main mission investigation of such crimes, and here is where MoJ can enter in play

What resources (human and material) does it have, and what power do they have?

According to JTAS 14 (page 15):
Quote:
In the universe of GDW, sector and Imperial police agencies are investigative in nature, and serve mainly to coordinate local efforts and serve as a central repository of records. Most violations of Imperial law are handled through local organizations, with occasional help from the Imperials where it is needed. The lmperium also depends upon local police forces to maintain order, except in emergencies (when martial law is declared, and the military takes over). Players designing their own universes may wish to create an interstellar patrol, or similar body.
This will make the MoJ forces more like Interpol, a pool for sharing information and coordinating efforts without much operative capacity on its own, but then no one will effectively prosecute the crimes under Imperial jurisdiction, so I guess it has its own investigative and enforcing personnel.

Of course, as (at least) part of the investigations must be done in planetary jurisdiction, this can put its agents in conflict with the local laws (as discussed in the thread about Imperial Weapons Permits). So, those operatives should be somewhat empowered to conduct their investigations free of local laws constrains, be it by some Imperial warrants or by being conducted exclusively by Imperial Nobles. I even envision the possibility of a special order of knights created for this mission, with all such high level agents being knighted into it, probably as honor nobles (and so, non-hereditary).

I see this last possibility consistent with the feudal nature of the Imperium, and with what Wiki says that High nobles, acting as the Minister of Justice, operate the Imperial Courts.

Thoughts? Comments? References?
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Old February 27th, 2016, 03:01 PM
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The resources of the particular planet matter. In some systems, the planetary government might be so poor and or low tech that assistance from the MoJ for expensive investigations may be needed or even routine. On other planets, they reverse could be true. The more technically advanced and wealthy systems may rarely or never need support from the MoJ for conducting law enforcement, complex forensic analysis or prosecutions.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 03:02 PM
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I'll poiint you to the MgT Agents supplement, it does not deal with the MoJ in a canon sense but definitely has special 'interstellar empire' LE powers that can be earned by LE agents.

If one went with sort of a looser 'whatever works/anyone in LE could have earned a limited Imperial Warrant' structure rather then specific assigned roles and hierarchy, then the MoJ might be more limited then a single one-stop justice structure, but have investigative resources made available to appropriate parties at the planetary/subsector/sector level and manage all warranted agents that might be laced throughout LE anywhere at any level.

Sounds more like the Imperial style to me instead of a 'superFBI/superJudges' sort of structure that could gain too much power or become rigid and inflexible with institutionalism and legal principle over justice.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Imperial government starts at the sub-sector level
, the duke is the local 'emperor on the spot'.
I would say the MoJ is one of the organisations that the duke oversees, part of the Imperial institutions in the duchy that the duke must oversee.
The same JTAS has the High Justice article:
Quote:
2. The middle justice of the subsectors that is intended to protect relatively helpless societies on low technology worlds and to protect all societies from excessive damage by military actions. This is enforced by the police and military forces of the subsector duke, aided (if necessary) by lmperial military and naval forces.
That's the niche I see the MoJ filling.

I would love to have seen a MoJ LBB - Stainless Steel Rats serving the Imperium perhaps
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Old February 27th, 2016, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
I even envision the possibility of a special order of knights created for this mission, with all such high level agents being knighted into it, probably as honor nobles (and so, non-hereditary).

I see this last possibility consistent with the feudal nature of the Imperium, and with what Wiki says that High nobles, acting as the Minister of Justice, operate the Imperial Courts.

What about instead of an automatic knighthood, an operative who is inducted into an order that grants Soc=10 (Imperial Gentleman) - not a noble, but someone of stature enough to be recognized at an Imperial level? It might grant the right to have some letters/initials at the end of the surname, but not the honorific "Sir".
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Old February 27th, 2016, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
, the duke is the local 'emperor on the spot'.
Any High Noble or high Imperial Officer (from any Imperial branch) may be so, in an Imperium that has long communications lags and where the Emperor relies in tursted men to keep the Imperium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I would say the MoJ is one of the organisations that the duke oversees, part of the Imperial institutions in the duchy that the duke must oversee.
The same JTAS has the High Justice article:

Quote:
2. The middle justice of the subsectors that is intended to protect relatively helpless societies on low technology worlds and to protect all societies from excessive damage by military actions. This is enforced by the police and military forces of the subsector duke, aided (if necessary) by lmperial military and naval forces.
That's the niche I see the MoJ filling.
I'm not sure about this. The fact it's a Ministry makes me think its a wider organization, an Imperium spanning one, not just a sector/subsector one.

I agree it falls under the local Duke/Archduke and helps them in keeping order in their respective fiefs/jurisdictions, and probably opearte under its authority, as heads of Imperial bureaucracy in the zone, but I guess it also operates Imperiumwide, against criminal organizations englobing more than one sector, fugitives, keeping files, and investigating Imperial Jursidiction crimes (be them HIgh Justice ones or not), aside form having the Imperial Courts that performs the trials in all those cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
I would love to have seen a MoJ LBB - Stainless Steel Rats serving the Imperium perhaps
I fully agree with you here

Quote:
Originally Posted by whulorigan View Post
What about instead of an automatic knighthood, an operative who is inducted into an order that grants Soc=10 (Imperial Gentleman) - not a noble, but someone of stature enough to be recognized at an Imperial level? It might grant the right to have some letters/initials at the end of the surname, but not the honorific "Sir".
Well, anything would work, as long as it empowers those special agents more freedom of action in lesser (planetary) jurisdictions.

I suggested them to be knighted in this special order because
  • the references to Imperial Nobility enforcing Imperial laws
  • the references of Imperial Nobility (and specifically some knight's orders) right to bear weapons
  • the historical role of the knights as law keepers as representatives of their lords in feudal societies
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Old February 27th, 2016, 09:43 PM
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Where is this Ministry of Justice referred too? The article in JTAS 14 discusses high justice, but administered by the Imperial Army, Navy, Marines, or the Special Operations branch of the Scouts.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:05 PM
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THe JTAS articles imply that the entirety of the MoJ are nobles... certainly, all the counsel, justices, and court officers are.

Special branch might not be... but IMOJSB are judicial enforcement... Warrant service, escapee recovery, Special Security Measures ...
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:35 PM
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The MoJ is mentioned in the MT rebellion era.
Rebellion source book, page 41

Lucan's Imperium: Lucan retained some of the most powerful
intelligence agencies in human space. Indeed, he controls
two of them: Imperial Naval Intelligence (INI) and the Imperial
Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

The INI can draw on the assets of the entire Imperial Navy
and is primarily concerned with military intelligence; it tracks
starship and troop operations, and can mount intelligencegathering
activities into all parts of the Imperium.

The MOJ is primarily concerned with Imperial society; it has
contacts with the court systems of the worlds of the empire,
and it has an intelligence network which concentrates on
criminal activity. The MOJ is especially valuable when dealing
with the criminal elements of the empire and can offer great
rewards (in terms of amnesty or pardon) to those who support
Lucan
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Old February 27th, 2016, 10:53 PM
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A few thoughts....

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
In principle, we could thing its mission is to enforce Imperial Law, but this Law is quite fuzzy ...

As I understand it, Imperial Law mainly is concerned with:
  • High Justice
  • Breaches of Imperial Rules of War
  • Any crime committed in Imperial Jurisdiction (extrality zones, Jump space, outside the 10 diameters, that is the standard accepted planetary jurisdiction, etc.)
Indeed, Imperial Law is quite fuzzy, being left essentially up to the referee. This can become a whole 'nother topic, so for present purposes I'll just say it's important to bear in mind that what we think the MoJ is all about is going to depend on our assumptions about the shape of the laws it enforces.

My view is Imperial Law is fairly minimal and is concerned with (a) regulating trade (which is largely not an MoJ concern) and (b) Big Offences (treason, piracy, sedition, murder, owning nukes, etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
What resources (human and material) does it have, and what power do they have?
I suggest minimal resources, but enormous power. I view MoJ's role as being chiefly judicial and prosecutorial -- i.e., it's the courts. In saying this, it's important to recall that the Imperium's courts are unlike courts in the English tradition: the system is inquisitorial rather than adversarial. (I believe this is canonical but can't recall the source.)

Instead of prosecutors who are independent of judges, Imperial prosecutors would work for judges and the line between investigator and judge is blurred. I envision prosecutor/investigators whose job is to essentially coordinate the case against the accused; they do not actually do the drudge work of investigating but instead have the power to direct local police in their efforts where Imperial crimes are concerned. These people would not necessarily be nobles, although the judges directing them would be, and would not need to go armed; police work for them. Local police are compelled to assist because member worlds are obliged to enforce Imperial Law ... which would include the requirement to assist MoJ prosecutors.

There is a question of which Imperial crimes are left entirely to local law enforcement where they have the resources, and which always involve the MoJ (murder being an example of the former, and treason the latter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
I see this last possibility consistent with the feudal nature of the Imperium, and with what Wiki says that High nobles, acting as the Minister of Justice, operate the Imperial Courts.
I don't believe MoJ prosecutor/investigators would be knights. There are precious few knights, when you compare the number of nobles in a given subsector with its overall population. And remember that sheriffs in medieval England were not nobles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan Trav View Post
The resources of the particular planet matter. In some systems, the planetary government might be so poor and or low tech that assistance from the MoJ for expensive investigations may be needed or even routine. On other planets, they reverse could be true. The more technically advanced and wealthy systems may rarely or never need support from the MoJ for conducting law enforcement, complex forensic analysis or prosecutions.
I don't believe MoJ would ever concern itself with any matter that wasn't Imperial Law, i.e. with local problems. And in certain Imperial crimes -- treason, seditious libel, alarming the Emperor -- the MoJ would involve itself regardless of local resources, because these would go before Imperial courts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
I'm not sure about this. The fact it's a Ministry makes me think its a wider organization, an Imperium spanning one, not just a sector/subsector one.
Yes. Since one of its functions is judicial, and laws span the Imperium, it would have to be, although local administration would fall to the subsector duke.

The MoJ in addition to having prosecutor/investigators and judges would have a large staff of harmless clerks involved in legal research. (The bulk of its staff, I would think.) The Imperium has no written constitution (the Emperor can override anything he likes), so it would operate as a common law system in which precedent creates the constitution ... consequently, the MoJ has to be Imperium-wide.

And where precedent in one subsector conflicts with precedent in another, because of communication lags (inevitable), the Imperium would need higher courts to decide which precedent would be considered canonical ... although since there is no right of appeal, the convicted parties would be SOL regardless.

The idea that the Imperium uses a common law system filled with conflicting rulings meshes neatly with the development of the Traveller rules.
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