View Adopted: 2019.03.29
The author is a national of Turkmenistan, who claimed that the state party has violated his rights under articles 7 and 18 (1) of the Covenant. He is a Jehovah's Witness who was summoned for military service, however this was deferred due to his suffering from epileptic seizures since childhood and to a confirmed diagnosis of 'asthenic-depressive' syndrome.
He was later brought before a court where he explained that he would be willing to undertake a similar civil obligation however would not bear arms as his conscience did not allow him to. He was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, and later attempts to appeal have all been denied or proceduraly obstructed.
The author complained that his prosecution and imprisonment for conscientious objection to military service had subjected him to a violation of article 7 of the Covenant, and further that such imprisonment is in violation of article 18(1).
The Committee considered that the author had failed to substantiate his allegations with respect to a violation of article 7 and thus declared this portion of the communication inadmissible.
The Committee recalled its general comment No. 22 (1993) on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, in which it considers that the fundamental character of the freedoms enshrined in article 18 (1). In the present case, the Committee noted that it is uncontested that the author’s refusal to perform compulsory military service derives from his religious beliefs, and on this basis found a violation of the author's rights under article 18(1) of the Covenant.
Pursuant to article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy. This requires it to make full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated.
Accordingly, the State party is obligated, inter alia to:
The Committee requested that the state party provide an update outlining measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views within 180 days, or prior to 29 September 2019.