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Ley Marcial

Definition of Ley Marcial

(Martial Law in English) is a term to designate a regime of exception through which power is ceded to military institutions in order to counteract extreme scenarios such as wars or rebellions. In such contexts, civil rights are greatly diminished.


  1. Military action
  2. Imposition
  3. Enactment
  4. Regime
  5. Ordinance

ORIGIN OF Ley Marcial

Coming from the Latin martiālis, it is used to designate the planet Mars. But Martial Law, it is possible to see it in its origins in the legislation of numerous countries as a State of exception declared by the executive power.

It is used for extreme emergency situations such as wars, revolts or catastrophes and it is the military and police forces who take control of the country. In this case, basic human rights such as freedom of movement are suppressed or limited.

One of its earliest manifestations can be found in the French Revolution. To put an end to the disturbances unleashed by the movement, the Assembly took on the task of approving the Martial Law in 1789, giving special powers to the police forces to repress these actions.


In case there are civilian courts it is not possible to apply Martial Law, because this is a state in which all citizens become military, and are subject to the laws of the statute, but it must be legalized by the congress of each nation.

After the coup d’état in Burma at the beginning of 2021, several protests took place in many cities. Faced with such a situation, a Military Junta declared Martial Law to quell such demonstrations and implemented measures such as curfew on public events and suspension of gatherings of more than five people.

It is in disuse and is not supported by international organizations and institutions.