International Support of Conscientious Objectors and Deserters
Eritrea - A Country Under the Sway of a Dictatorship
Description and Content of the Booklet
(05.07.2018) This booklet is based in large part on the contributions of the conference “Eritrea and the Ongoing Refugee Crisis”, which took place in Brussels on 19 October 2017.
Some of the speeches were written and edited by the editors. Other contributions were provided by the speakers themselves. The editors have supplemented this with up-to-date information and articles in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation in Eritrea, the situation of Eritrean refugees and initiatives and activities.
The conference was organized by the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights, Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), PRO ASYL e.V., Connection e.V., War Resisters’ International and the Eritrean Law Society.
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: Statement to the Ruling of the Constitution Court
Welcoming the Decision Recognizing Conscientious Objection
(28.06.2018) Today, the Constitutional Court of Republic of Korea ruled that Article 5(1) of the Military Service Act (hereafter "MSA") does not conform with the Constitution of Republic of Korea as it fails to provide alternative service for conscientious objectors as a type of military service, while setting a time limit for the continued application of the provision until December 31th, 2019. The Court's decision against the legislative inaction implies that it is unconstitutional to not enact relevant law required by the Constitution. In today's decision, the Court recognized conscientious objection as the exercise of the right to "freedom of conscience" which is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution and pointed out that Article 5(1) of the MSA is unconstitutional on account that it did not offer an alternative service for conscientious objectors who have been subjected to criminalization.
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.