In the latest case, the 22-year old man identified by the surname Shin was tried for refusing to join the military after he received his draft letter in December 2015. The first court to try Shin had found him innocent, saying that forcing him to serve military duty against his religious beliefs was “demolishment of existential value” of Shin as a person. However, the appeals court sentenced him to an 18 month imprisonment, saying that that religion cannot be considered a justifiable reason for refusing military service under current laws, and social system.
“Conscientious objection does not qualify as ‘justifiable reason’ for exempting from punishment under current laws,” the Supreme Court said in its ruling.
“The UN Human Rights Committee recommendation against penalizing conscientious objectors is not legally binding,” it continued.