Law of the Twelve Colonies (RDM)

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There are many legal precedents and laws that bound the Twelve Colonies of Kobol together, as well as methods of trying people under said laws. This article highlights how the laws are treated by the Colonials before and after the Fall of the Twelve Colonies.

Articles of Colonization

Main article: Articles of Colonization

The Articles of Colonization are the Twelve Colonies' constitution and guarantee its citizens basics rights. They were ratified after the Cylon War.

Legal precedents


Citizens of the Colonies may ask for asylum from the military. Rya Kibby, a 17 year old Gemenese woman, sought and successfully gained asylum from the Colonial Fleet's highest ranking officer, Admiral Adama.

The result of asylum in Kibby's case was the successful abortion of her pregnancy, despite her parents' wishes (The Captain's Hand).

Reproductive Rights

The issue of abortion is left untouched by law until near the end of the first year of the exodus with the case of Rya Kibby and her unborn child.

Prior to its resurgence post-Fall, abortion is an issue heavily contested in the Colonies, despite its legalization. In particular, the Gemenese argue against the practice on religious grounds; Laura Roslin makes the claim that she has fought for women's reproductive rights for her entire political career, and would not concede to Representative Sarah Porter's demands regarding Kibby.

As a result of population projections provided by Gaius Baltar, which highlighted the necessity of repopulating the human species, Roslin overturned the abortion laws thus making it illegal for abortions to happen anywhere in the Fleet (The Captain's Hand).

Colonies' Rights

Each colony has their own laws as part of their autonomy from the federal government. For example, on Gemenon, children are legally owned by their parents until they are 18 years of age (The Captain's Hand).

Moreover, prior to Gaius Baltar's trial, for collaboration with the Cylons, there is debate among the Fleet's leadership and judicial experts under which colony's law he should be tried. This implies the absence of a federal criminal code. The lack of a comprehensive law library of all colonies, but Adama having some of his father's legal books, may have resulted in the use of Caprican law (A Day in the Life).

The Cylons

Legally speaking, the Cylons (even in their humanoid form) are not considered people, and are therefore not afforded the typical treatment of enemy combatants.[1]

Cylon prisoners have been subjected to torture (Flesh and Bone) and execution without trial ("Flesh and Bone", "A Measure of Salvation").

Legal proceedings

The tribunal presiding over Gaius Baltar.

Colonial law knows jury trials as well as tribunals. The right to a trial before a jury of one's peers seems to be guaranteed by the Articles of Colonization ("Collaborators", "Taking a Break From All Your Worries"). However, Gaius Baltar is tried by five judges, who are randomly selected from the Fleet's ships' captains (Crossroads, Part I & II). The confusion prior to Baltar's trial suggests that no serious civilian legal framework exists within the Fleet, at least on a federal level.

The prosecution and defense of the accused is conducted by attorneys and sometimes legal aides. [2]


In the Colonial Fleet, violations against civil and military law can be prosecuted by courts-martial.

For example, Admiral Cain holds a court-martial to try Galen Tyrol and Karl Agathon for killing Lieutenant Thorne (Pegasus). [3]

Presidential provisions

During the second term of President Laura Roslin, she institutes various emergency and secret provisions for the survivors. Some of these are minor and hardly of notice, while others are potentially consequential to the civil liberties within the Fleet.

Such provisions can be, and have been, challenged by the Quorum of Twelve at their choosing and include the following:

Emergency Provision 17
Prevents Gaius Baltar and his cult from assembling in groups larger than 12. This provision is enacted after an brutal attack on Baltar's Cult and its commune by the Sons of Ares. Roslin, treating Baltar as a "special case" for fear that Baltar would assume some modicum of political power and to prevent any violence he may allegedly agitate, enacts this provision without Quorum approval. It is overthrown by an emergency session of the Quorum, championed by Caprican delegate Lee Adama (Escape Velocity).
Unknown Provision
A provision authorized at the same time as Emergency Provision 17 deals with the repair of an elevator (Escape Velocity).


  1. Ron Moore's comments about Cylon rights from the Colonial perspective.
  2. Their methods and conducts largely mirrors modern American legal practices.
  3. This trial differs significantly from real world practices in the United States. Cain holds a summary court-martial and sentences them to death by herself. In real life, a general court-martial is required for passing the death penalty, which then consists of five judges. Summary courts-martial have one judge, but only deal with relatively minor offenses and sentences.


  • Analogues
    • Law of the Twelve Colonies (TOS)|TOS's Laws of the Twelve Colonies
  • Lawyers
    • Joseph Adama|Joseph Adama
    • Cassidy|Cassidy
    • Romo Lampkin|Romo Lampkin
  • See Also
    • Articles of Colonization|Articles of Colonization