Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a provision that governs the preliminary hearing process for individuals facing charges under the UCMJ. The purpose of an Article 32 hearing is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a court-martial or other disciplinary action.
Specifically, an Article 32 hearing is a type of formal investigation that is conducted by a military officer, who acts as the investigating officer (IO). During the hearing, the IO receives evidence, takes testimony from witnesses, and evaluates the strength of the evidence presented against the accused.
The accused has the right to be present at the hearing, to be represented by counsel, to cross-examine witnesses, and to present evidence on their behalf. The hearing may also be open to the public, unless the presiding officer determines that there is good cause to close the hearing.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the IO prepares a report that includes findings of fact and recommendations as to whether the case should proceed to a court-martial or be resolved through some other form of disciplinary action. This report is then forwarded to the convening authority, who makes the ultimate decision as to how the case will proceed.