Many countries have established mechanisms and ombuds-institutions for dealing with complaints against their armed forces. While the mandate and scope varies from country to country, in general, the aim of ombuds institutions with jurisdiction over the armed forces is to exercise scrutiny over the armed forces and to investigate any action that is the subject of a complaint against the armed forces.
The aim of ICOAF is to establish best practice and lessons learned related to the mandate, powers and functioning of these institutions. The initiative also reaches out to states that do not have a ombuds-institution for the military but have expressed an interest to learn from experiences from other states. To date, representatives of ombuds- institutions of the following 25 states have participated in the ICOAF initiative: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union (EU), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations and EUROMIL have sent observers to previous ICOAF conferences. The aim is to reach to other states in the near future, in particular post-conflict and transition states.
To date, three ICOAF Conferences have taken place. The first ICOAF was held at the German Bundestag in Berlin in May 2009; the second ICOAF took place in the National Assembly of Austria in Vienna in April 2010; the third ICOAF took place at the Palace of Belgrade in April 2011; the fourth ICOAF is planned in Ottawa in September 2012; the fifth ICOAF will be held in Oslo in 2013 and the sixth ICAOF will be organised in Paris
In 1994 the British and Irish Ombudsman Association (BIOA) came into being when membership of the United Kingdom Ombudsman Association was extended to Offices of Ombudsmen Institutions from the Republic of Ireland. Acting as a focal point for public and private sector Ombudsman schemes complaint handling bodies and other members of the Association BIOA organises and facilitates a range of activities and events for the purpose of exchanging information and promulgating standards of best ombudsmanship practice.
The International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.) was established in 1978. It is a global organisation for the cooperation and information exchange of Ombudsman institutions and currently includes 150 Members from over 75 different countries.
The European Chapter of the International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.), a regional constituency of the I.O.I. for the purposes of promoting regional participation in the activities of the Institute and to decentralise its activities
Ombudsman for Defence Forces - Other Jurisdictions
The Ombudsman investigates complaints and serves as a neutral third party on matters related to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND/CF). Acting independently of the chain of command and managers, the Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.
The Defence Force Ombudsman investigates complaints about the Australian Defence Force (ADF) relating to or arising from past or present service.
Ombudsman Offices in the Republic of Ireland:
The Office of the Ombudsman investigates complaints about administrative action, delay or inaction of Government Departments and Offices, Local Authorities, Health Boards and the postal service. A complainant may write, e-mail, telephone or call personally to the Office to submit a complaint. The Ombudsman is also the Information Commissioner and, in that capacity, she reviews the decisions of public bodies in relation to matters covered by the Freedom of Information Act, 1997.
Address: 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 678 5222
Fax: + 353 1 661 0570
The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman considers complaints of maladministration by, and disputes of fact or law with, trustees, managers, employers and administrators in relation to occupational pension schemes (i.e. those established by an employer). His jurisdiction includes Personal Retirement Savings Accounts, Personal Retirement Savings Accounts ( PRSAs) and Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs).
Address: 36 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 647 1650
Fax: + 353 1 676 9577
The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) was established in April 2004 under primary legislation: the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002. The Ombudsman for Children is statutorily charged with promoting and safeguarding the rights and welfare of children and young people up to eighteen years of age. The Ombudsman for Children is independent of Government and is accountable to the Oireachtas. The main functions are: Promoting Children and Young People's Rights; Complaints and Investigations Research, and Policy.
Address: Millennium Hse,52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1.
LoCall: 1890 654 654
Tel: + 353 1 865 6800
The Garda Ombudsman is responsible for receiving and dealing with all complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. The Garda Ombudsman’s mission is to provide the public with an independent and effective oversight of policing, and to deal with the public’s complaints concerning Gardaí fairly and efficiently so that everyone can have confidence in the complaints system.
Address: 150 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1.
LoCall: 1890 600 800
Tel: + 353 1 871 6727
Fax: + 353 1 814 7023
The Financial Services Ombudsman is a statutory officer who deals independently with complaints from consumers about their individual dealings with all financial services providers that have not been resolved by the providers. The Ombudsman is the arbiter of unresolved disputes and is impartial. The service is free to the complainant.
Address: 3rd Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 6620899
Locall: 1890 88 2090
Fax: + 353 1 662 0890