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Adyan and Others v. Armenia, No. 75604/11, ECtHR (First Section), 12 January 2018


Conscientious objection to military service and alternative civilian service in Armenia. Longer length of the alternative civilian service and prohibition of discrimination on religious grounds.   

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR 
Art. 14 ECHR 


1. Conscientious objection to military service, protected by Art. 9 ECHR, would be illusory if a contracting Partly did not offer an authentic civilian alternative service.

2. Among the characteristics of the alternative civilian service, the Court identifies sufficient independence from the military supervision and the absence of a punitive element.
(The four applicants were conscientious objectors belonging to the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Called upon conscription, they refused to perform not only the military service but also any form of alternative service, considering that the latter was not sufficiently independent from military supervision and having a punitive element, lasting about twice the length of the conscription - 42 months and 24 months respectively).