Benitez v. Paraguay

Reference: CCPR/C/104/D/1829/2008

Decision Year: 2012-03-22

Information Source: Mr. James E. Andrik (victims' lawyer) and Follow-up Report on Views (Mar. 2014)

According to the Victim or his/her Counsel:
No implementation. In Turkey crimes against Military Law are not recorded as part of the criminal record. The authors are not left with a criminal record which would need to be expunged as a result of their conscientious objection to performing military service. However, in response to a petition from one of the authors, requesting that the Ministry of Justice close any files relating to his refusal to perform military service, the Ministry of Justice responded that it had no authority to evaluate the matter. The authors have not received any form of compensation. There is no indication that the State party has taken steps to prevent similar violations in future. Shortly after receiving the Committee's Views one of the authors wrote to the Ministry of Justice with reference to the Views. The Ministry responded that following a change to the relevant regulation dated 31 March 2011, the penalty for the crime of 'evasion of enlistment' had been converted from imprisonment to an 'administrative pecuniary penal fine'. However, under article 89 of Military Service Law No.1111, once a decision on an 'administrative pecuniary penal fine' for those who have committed the crime of evasion of enlistment has become final without there being an acceptable excuse, it will be penalised with imprisonment. (The English translation of the text of the letter as conveyed to the Centre for Civil and Political Rights reads "By the change of the related regulation on 31.03.2011, the crime of evasion of enlistment was converted to administrative pecuniary penal fine from penalty limiting freedom. In addition, based on the article 89 of the Military Service Law numbered 1111, after the decision concerning the administrative pecuniary penal fine becomes certain without any acceptable excuse about those committing the crime of evasion of enlistment, they will be penalized by imprisonment sentence.") To date the Courts have followed this approach, continuing to fine the authors and other conscientious objectors for 'evasion of enlistment'. The only improvement observed is that the cases are now mostly considered by civil rather than military courts, which have so far proved reluctant to sentence conscientious objectors to prison terms, preferring to fine them. However, it is not clear what will happen when conscientious objectors exhaust the appeals process and have still not paid their 'administrative pecuniary fines'.

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