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Aghanyan and Others v. Armenia, Nos. 58070/12 and 21 others, ECtHR (First Section Committee), 5 December 2019


Conscientious objection to military service and alternative civilian service in Armenia. Total conscientious objectors (both in respect of the military service and of the civilian alternative service). 

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 civil service, the Court identifies sufficient independence from military supervision.
(The applicants were total 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)


The Court refers widely to Adyan and Others v. Armenia