International Support of Conscientious Objectors and Deserters
South Korea: Conscientious objector sentenced to prison
(18.07.2018) A South Korean conscientious objector was sentenced to a jail term Tuesday, despite the recent Constitutional Court order for the government to introduce civilian forms of service for them. Seoul Western District Court ruled Tuesday that the man, surnamed Oh, must serve 18 months in prison for not complying with the country’s mandatory military service. Oh, 30, says that his political beliefs go against serving in the armed forces.
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.
South Korea: Conscientious objectors’ unending legal battle
Top court delays ruling, mulls human rights record
(22.07.2018) The Constitutional Court is poised to conclude another milestone conscientious objection case, weeks after a historic June 28 ruling where it overturned South Korea's long-standing stance to alternative military service. The top court will wrap up a class-action complaint filed in 2011 by 433 conscience objectors who claimed that they were human rights victims but that they were unable to get adequate compensation from the government because of the absence of legislation. Those who filed the complaint urged the top court to take necessary measures, so the government could compensate them and expunge their criminal records.
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 is going to appeal against this decision.
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.