Case of X. v. Austria (Application no. 5591/72)

Case of X. v. Austria (Application no. 5591/72)

The applicant complained about his conviction by the Austrian courts for having refused to serve his compulsory military service on grounds of his religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic.
The Commission declared the case inadmissible, finding in particular that Article 4 § 3(b) of the Convention, which exempts from the prohibition of forced or compulsory labour “any service of a military character or, in cases of conscientious objectors, in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service” clearly showed that States had the choice whether or not to recognise conscientious objectors and, if so recognised, to provide some substitute service. Article 9 as qualified by Article 4 § 3(b), did not impose on a State the obligation to recognise conscientious objectors and, consequently, to make special arrangements for the exercise of their right to freedom of conscience and religion as far as it affected their compulsory military service. It followed that these Articles did not prevent a State which had not recognised conscientious objectors from punishing those who refused to do military service.

Recognition of CO Not recognised