International Support of Conscientious Objectors and Deserters
South Korea: Supreme court upholds conscientious objection
(02.11.2018) South Korea's top court ruled Thursday that South Korean men can legally reject their mandatory military service on conscientious or religious grounds without punishment. The landmark ruling is expected to affect the cases of more than 930 conscientious objectors on trial. Hundreds of young South Korean men, mostly Jehovah's Witnesses, are imprisoned every year for refusing to serve in the military.
Stop the renewed trial! Demand with us the immediate confirmation of Ruslan Kotsaba’s initial acquittal!
(12.02.2018) Journalist and conscientious objector Ruslan Kotsaba stands trial again in Dolyna on 19 February 2018. He is known for his pacifist appeals against the war in Eastern Ukraine. He also called for a boycott of illegal mobilisation for the so called 'anti-terrorist operation' in Ukraine.
Ruslan Kotsaba was arrested in February 2015 and was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment for obstruction of the Ukrainian armed forces. After only 524 days of pretrial detention he was released by the court of appeal in July 2016.
The country's High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases decided on 1 June 2017 that the case would have to be reopened. The first court in charge in Bohorodchany declared itself to be biased, probably because of international pressure. Now the court in Dolyna is in charge of the case.
Update 20 February 2018: The court sent the charges to the public prosecutor in Ivano-Frankivsk on application of Ruslan's lawyer. The indictment has not yet met the rules of the code of criminal procedure, so we await the continuance of the proceedings. Ruslan Kotsaba is still free and awaiting the upcoming proceedings. He is thankful for the international support.We will keep you updated.
The peace deal with Ethiopia has not changed Afwerki’s Eritrea
If anything, it has actually strengthened his regime.
(12.10.2018) After signing an historic peace deal with Ethiopia, and receiving unprecedented levels of positive media coverage, Eritrea applied for a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). As a member of the UNHRC, Eritrea will have the right to vote on UN's human rights resolutions, including the ones that are about its own abuses, for a period of three years. So, as Eritrea prepares to take its place in a top human rights body, let me provide some insight into what the country really looks like today, despite high hopes and optimistic media reports about imminent political changes.
In late 2008, Army Specialist André Shepherd filed an application for political asylum in Germany.
The European Court of justice published a preliminary ruling in February 2015. In November the Munich Administrative Court rejected U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd's application for political asylum. "The conduct of the proceedings was marked by prejudice," said Rudi Friedrich of Connection e.V. "As an observer, one could not avoid the impression that the decision was fixed in advance, and the panel of judges wanted to regard the decision and André Shepherd's application for asylum entirely separately from the reality of the war in Iraq." (...more)
André Shepherd appealed against this decision. The case is still pending.
39-year-old André Shepherd was deployed to Iraq for six months as an Apache helicopter mechanic. After returning on leave to his unit stationed in Katterbach, Bavaria, he seriously deliberated the effects of U.S. military action on the civilian population in Iraq. After some time, he decided to go AWOL, and then seek refuge in Germany. He based his application for political asylum on the European Union Qualification Directive, which is intended to protect those who refuse to participate in a war or other activities that violate international law, and who may expect persecution as a consequence.