European Committee of Social Rights: Conclusions 2008 (Greece)

en

Service required to replace military service

The situation concerning alternative military service has changed significantly since the decision on the merits of 25 April 2001 in collective complaint No. 8/2000 - Quaker Council of European Affairs v. Greece – which found that the situation in Greece was incompatible with Article 1§2 because of the excessive length of alternative service.
Armed military service lasts twelve months. Certain con­scripts may only serve nine months, others six and some three. There are two forms of replacement for armed mili­tary service: unarmed military service and alternative service. The two types of service differ in length. The rele­vant legislation is Acts 3257/29-7-2004 and 3421/13-12-2005, which stipulate that those performing unarmed military service must serve at least one and a half times, and those performing alternative service at least double, the length of armed military service.
The ministry of defence has adopted ministerial decree F 420/10/80347/S45/10-3-2006 to implement this legislation.
The periods of unarmed military service to replace armed military service are:
- 18 months for those who would have had to serve a full armed military service of 12 months;
- 13 months and 15 days for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 9 months;
- 9 months for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 6 months;
- 4 months and 15 days for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 3 months.
The Committee considers that these periods of unarmed military service to replace armed military service are compatible with Article 1§2 of the Charter.
The periods of alternative service to replace armed military service are:
- 23 months for those who would have had to serve a full armed military service of 12 months;
- 17 months for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 9 months;
- 11 months for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 6 months;
- 5 months for those who would have had to serve a reduced armed military service of 3 months.
The Committee notes that these periods are nearly double the length of armed military service. Admittedly, recognised conscientious objectors are in a better position than they are in countries that do not grant them special status or where refusal to serve is punishable by imprisonment. But even if the state acknowledges the principle of conscientious objection and institutes alternative service instead, it cannot make the latter longer than is necessary to ensure that refusal to serve on grounds of conscience is genuine and the choice of alternative service is not seen as advantageous rather than a duty. Under Article 1§2 of the Charter, alternative service may not exceed one and a half times the length of armed military service. The Committee therefore considers that, even though the situation in Greece has improved significantly, it is still not compatible with Article 1§2 of the Charter.

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Source: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Conclusions/State/Gr…

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