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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 101—Improper use of countersign
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Text. “Any person subject to this chapter who in time of war discloses the parole or countersign to any person not entitled to receive it or who gives to another who is entitled to receive and use the parole or countersign a different parole or countersign from that which, to his knowledge, he was authorized and required to give, shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

Elements.

(1) Disclosing the parole or countersign to one not entitled to receive it.

(a) That, in time of war, the accused disclosed the parole or countersign to a person, identified or unidentified; and

(b) That this person was not entitled to receive it.

(2) Giving a parole or countersign different from that authorized.

(a) That, in time of war, the accused knew that the accused was authorized and required to give a certain parole or countersign; and

(b) That the accused gave to a person entitled to receive and use this parole or countersign a different parole or countersign from that which the accused was authorized and required to give.

Explanation.

(1) Countersign. A countersign is a word, signal, or procedure given from the principal headquarters of a command to aid guards and sentinels in their scrutiny of persons who apply to pass the lines. It consists of a secret challenge and a password, signal, or procedure.

(2) Parole. A parole is a word used as a check on the countersign; it is given only to those who are entitled to inspect guards and to commanders of guards.

(3) Who may receive countersign. The class of persons entitled to receive the countersign or parole will expand and contract under the varying circumstances of war. Who these persons are will be determined largely, in any particular case, by the general or special orders under which the accused was acting. Before disclosing such a word, a person subject to military law must determine at that person’s peril that the recipient is a person authorized to receive it.

(4) Intent, motive, negligence, mistake, ignorance not defense. The accused’s intent or motive in disclosing the countersign or parole is immaterial to the issue of guilt, as is the fact that the disclosure was negligent or inadvertent. It is no defense that the accused did not know that the person to whom the countersign or parole was given was not entitled to receive it.

(5) How accused received countersign or parole. It is immaterial whether the accused had received the countersign or parole in the regular course of duty or whether it was obtained in some other way.

(6) In time of war. See R.C.M. 103(19).

Lesser included offense. Article 80—attempts

Maximum punishment. Death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

Next Article > Article 102—Forcing a safeguard >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 25

 

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