Johansen v. Norway (Application No. 10600/83)



The applicant is a Norwegian citizen born in 1956 and resident at Ise in Norway. (...)

Being a pacifist, the applicant is opposed to military service, and he also objects to civilian service, since the purpose of such service is, in his opinion, to uphold respect for military service.


The Commission also considers that this obligation is an obligation that is fully compatible with the Convention. The Convention does not oblige the Contracting States to make available for conscientious objectors to military service any substitute civilian service. In States which recognise conscientious objectors and provide for alternative service it is fully compatible with the Convention to require objectors to perform alternative service. This is clear from the text of Article 4 para 3 (b) of the Convention which specifically sets out that service exacted from conscientious objectors instead of compulsory military service is not to be regarded as "forced or compulsory labour". From this provision it is clear that an obligation to perform civilian service is in principle compatible with the Convention.


The applicant has alleged a breach of Article 9 of the Convention, which guarantees to everyone the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

When interpreting this provision, the Commission has taken into consideration Article 4 para. 3(b) of the Convention which inter alia provides that "service exacted instead of compulsory military service" should not be included in the concept of "forced or compulsory labour". Since the Convention thus expressly recognises that conscientious objectors may be required to perform civilian service it is clear that the Convention does not guarantee a right to be exempted from civilian service (see No. 7705/76, Dec. 5.7.77, D.R. 9 p. 196). The Convention does not prevent a state from taking measures to enforce performance of civilian service, or from imposing sanctions on those who refuse such service.

The Commission refers to its finding under para. 1 and concludes that the applicant's detention cannot be considered contrary to Article 9 of the Convention.

It follows that this aspect of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the Convention.


Attached file

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