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South Korea: To be a conscientious objector is not a crime

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Action in Seoul. Photo: World Without War

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.

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Action of World Without War

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.

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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.

South Korea: To make the most of the opportunity for peace, the right to conscientious objection must be recognised!

(14.05.2018) Recognizing the right to conscientious objection to military service does not only involve guaranteeing objectors the freedom of conscience, thought, and religion. In addition, overcoming deep-rooted violence and militarism will be possible only when we acknowledge this right to object. In order for Korea to make the most of the precious opportunities of peace that have come in seventy years and to become a country of permanent peace, the right to conscientious objection must be recognized.