Recognition of the right of conscientious objection

Violations of Articles 3, 6 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

by European Court of Human Rights

(17.01.2012) The applicant, Mr Feti Demirtaş, is a Turkish national who was born in 1981 and lives in Istanbul. He was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness at the age of 20 and refuses to perform his military service. He has declared his willingness to perform alternative civilian service. Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Demirtaş complained of an endless series of prosecutions and convictions on account of his refusal to wear military uniform. He also alleged that he had been subjected to various forms of inhuman and degrading treatment in Şirinyer military prison, in his military unit in Erzurum and in Balıkesir military prison. He further contended that his successive convictions for refusing to serve in the armed forces had amounted to a violation of Article 9 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion). Relying also on Article 6 (right to a fair trial), he complained for being forced, as a civilian, to appear before a court made up exclusively of army officers.

Violation of Article 3

Violation of Article 9

Violation of Article 6 § 1

Just satisfaction: EUR 15,000 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 5,000 (costs and expenses)

European Court of Human Rights: Judgments concerning Austria, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Mioldova, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey. (ECHR 015 (2012)), January 17, 2012. Excerpt to Feti Demirtaş v. Turkey (no. 5260/07). Original ruling in French.

Keywords:    ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Human Rights   ⇒ International Resolutions   ⇒ Prosecution   ⇒ Turkey