Member of the German Bundestag Defence Committee Ernst-Reinhard Beck addressed the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) on 6 June 2012 in Vienna on democratic control over armed forces.
Beck described Germany’s experience in setting up mechanisms, including parliamentarian, to exercise control over the engagement of armed forces in Germany. He stressed the important role of the Military Commissioner (Wehrbeauftragter) in helping safeguard fundamental rights of the soldiers.
However, the most important control function lies with the armed forces personnel - “the citizens in uniform” – themselves, Beck underlined. “We do not want an army, which serves one ruler as a uniformed instrument - an army, which uncritically does everything it is told to, without questioning the sense. This places heavy demands on every superior, but also on the parliamentarians – as an important guarantee for a peaceful Germany,” Beck emphasized.
Democratic political control of military, paramilitary and internal security forces is a commitment all OSCE participating States have undertaken in the framework of the OSCE Code of Conduct. Beck’s address took place in the run-up to the “Seminar on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security for the Baltic Sea Region” to be held in Riga, Latvia, from 18 to 20 June 2012.
Later, in July 2012 representatives from 56 OSCE participating States will come to Vienna for the first ever Annual Discussion on the implementation of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.