Turkey: Clear call from the Council of Europe for recognition of conscientious objection
(26.06.2023) 17 years after the first ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in favor of a Turkish conscientious objector, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe now took a surprisingly straightforward stance (H46-36 Ülke group v. Turkey). It strongly urged the Turkish authorities to provide an “action plan” that includes concrete proposals for legislative amendments to address the Court’s findings in this group as well as political and practical measures regarding the recognition of the right to conscientious objection to military service. At the same time, the Committee of Ministers announced that otherwise, it would adopt a resolution for an interim solution in a year’s time.
Russia: Surge in Criminal Investigations Against Military Objectors
(June 2023) In the first half of 2023, Russian military courts have received 2,076 criminal cases concerning unauthorized absence from military service, as per Article 337 of the Russian Criminal Code. This number is twice as high as the total cases for the entire year of 2022 and three times higher than the pre-war year of 2021. The majority of the accused are not contract soldiers but those who have been mobilized. Courts are now issuing around 100 verdicts per week, and this number is on the rise.
Collective Punishment Over Forced Conscription Campaign
(09.02.2023) The Eritrean government has in recent months punished relatives of thousands of alleged draft evaders as part of an intensive forced conscription campaign, Human Rights Watch said today.Eritrean security forces have been heavily involved in operations in support of the Ethiopian government since the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020, and have carried out some of the conflict’s worst abuses. Eritrean authorities have conducted waves of roundups in Eritrea to identify people it considers draft evaders or deserters.
Ukraine: Drop all charges against Vitaly Alekseenko immediately
Conscientious objector goes to prison
(18.01.2023) In Ukraine, on 16 January 2023, Ivano-Frankivsk Appeal Court rejected the appeal of 46-year-old Christian Vitaly Alekseenko against his conviction for refusing call up to the military on conscientious grounds. "I told the court I agree that I have broken the law of Ukraine," Alekseenko told Forum 18, "but I am not guilty under the law of God." When he gets the written verdict, which he expects on 19 January, the one-year imprisonment sentence will go into force and he expects to be taken to prison immediately afterwards.