GERMANY: Total objector fined 900 Euros
German total objector Jan Schenck (GER14755) was fined 900 Euros (90 day rates a 10 Euros) on 7 September. In March 2004, he refused to follow an order to perform substitute service, because he sees substitute service for conscientious objectors as indirect support to war.
While Germany recognises the right to conscientious objection, and organises a substitute service independent of the German military, the substitute service is still part of the German defence concept of "holistic defence". In case of war, conscientious objectors can be called up for indefinite substitute service, and can be ordered to support dealing with refugees, serve in emergency hospitals, or even to clear unexploded mines or bombs. Total objectors view this as support for war, and therefore refuse to perform substitute service and military service.
During the trial on 7 September, Jan Schenck's lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck also argued with the present injustice of the German conscription system. Out of 400,000 youth of conscription age, only 70,000 are being called up for military service annually, with an expected decrease to 58,000. Kaleck requested from the court to question the constitutionality of the present conscription system, but judge Stuhrmann declined to do so.
Jan Schenck is considering to appeal against the sentence. Otherwise he will either need to pay the fine of 900 Euros, or serve a prison sentence of 90 days.
War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the German Minister for Family, the Elderly, Women and Youth, Renate Schmidt, other German authorities, and German embassies abroad.
Bundesministerium fuer Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend
To send a protest letter by email, go to http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20050912a.html. A list of German embassies can be found at http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en/laenderinfos/adressen/.
War Resisters' International
Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts