What is Martial Law?

Every country wants to have a peaceful and orderly existence. People desire to live harmoniously with each other and be able to roam the streets as free as they can. Normally, a country is governed by civilian authorities, meaning ordinary citizens chosen or voted by the majority to lead the country to prosperity. On the other hand, the police or military power, which constitutes just a small portion of the population, is given the primary role of protecting the people from both internal and external threats to freedom. Ideally, civilian authority has predominance over military authority.

Unfortunately, once in a while, both domestic unrest and wars instigated by other countries break in virtually all civilized countries. When the civilian-led government is incapable of maintaining peace and order of a particular place or the country as a whole, then Martial law is invoked as a last resort.

According to Wikipedia, Martial law is “…the imposition of military power over designated regions on an emergency basis.” This time, the roles are interchanged. The military takes charge of governing the people to restore peace and order as quickly as possible. However, Martial should only be temporary and lifted up as soon as the situation goes back to normal.

Martial law can be imposed on a small area of a country or on the whole nation itself when massive security threats are spread all over the country. To make Martial law effective as an emergency solution, both civilian and military authorities must coordinate and collaborate to put all contingency plans into swift but proper execution. Of course, above all, the safety and protection of basic rights of the citizens should be the main concern when Martial law is in full swing.

Martial law can also be imposed in cases of natural disasters where the local government of the affected area is dramatically immobilized to provide basic services to the people. At this point, the head of state, such as the President, can declare Martial law and put the place under control of the military to prevent any further looting or damage. In some countries, instead of Martial law, a state of emergency is declared.

When Martial law is imposed, military authorities typically enforce curfews, suspension of civil law, civil rights, and habeas corpus. Military justice is also used on civilians. Citizens who disobey Martial law can be sent to court-martial.

Business operations, like Ecommerce, may also be affected. For instance, it may be impossible to buy from nomorerack since flights from outside the country may be restricted for security reasons. So, parcels from other countries may not be permitted to come in.

War between countries may also merit the imposition of Martial law to reinstate peace and order in a country. For instance, at the end of World War II, Martial law was imposed in the reconstruction efforts done in Germany due to the absence of any civil government.

For whatever its worth, Martial law should only be done as a temporary last resort.