Friday, October 18, 2019

Score, Jehovah's Witnesses 1, Azerbaijan 0

The European Court of Human Rights has announced its decision in Mammadov v. Azerbaijan concerning conscientious objection. The court's press release and summary can be found here.
In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Mushfig Mammadov and Others v. Azerbaijan (application no. 14604/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 9 (right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights. 
The case concerned the applicants’ refusal on religious grounds to serve in the army. 
The Court observed that the criminal prosecutions and convictions of the applicants on account of their refusal to perform military service had stemmed from the fact that there was no alternative service system under which individuals could benefit from conscientious objector status. That amounted to an interference which had not been necessary in a democratic society. The case highlighted an issue relating to the lack of legislation on civilian service as an alternative to military service in Azerbaijan. The enactment of such a law corresponded to a commitment entered into by Azerbaijan on its accession to the Council of Europe and was also a requirement under the country’s own Constitution.
The decision is available only in French.

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