Grandrath v. Germany (2299/64)


Date published: 12 December 1966

Mr Grandrath, a minister of Jehovah's Witnesses, was a "total objector", seeking to be exempted both from military and from civilian service. He complained about his criminal conviction for refusing to perform substitute civilian service and alleged that he was discriminated against in comparision with Roman Catholic and Protestant ministers who were exempt from this service.

The European Commission of Human Rights examined the case under Article 9 (freedom of religion) and under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 4 (prohibition of forced or compulsory labour). The Commission concluded that there had been no violation of the Convention, as conscientious objectors did not have the right to exemption from military service, and that each Contracting State could decide whether or not to grant such a right. If such a right was granted, objectors could be required to perform substitute civilian service, and did not have a right to be exempted from it.


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