Court of Appeal upheld a believer’s right to alternative service
Dnipropetrovsk Regional Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of acquittal for a believerwho asked to enroll to alternative service during mobilization.
The court's decision was announced on February 26, 2015 after the second appeal hearing, according to the Institute of Religious Freedom.
Thus, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the arguments of the Prosecutor of Novomoskovsk, Dnipropetrovsk region, who sought a guilty verdict for a member of Jehovah's Witnesses religious community for avoiding military service. Representatives of the prosecution are convinced that the law on mobilization clearly defines the categories of people who may be relieved of military duty, and believers in the list there.
Instead, the defendant relied on the provisions ofpart 4 of Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine and the European Court of Human Rights, which established the right of believers to assign to alternative (non-military) service as a substitute for military service.
The decision of the Court of Appeal has entered into force. However, given the persistence of prosecutors in this case, it can be expected that the prosecution will use the given time limit of three months for filing an appeal with the High Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases.
“In this case, the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine should be used as norms of direct effect, even in the presence of inconsistencies in other legislation. Thus, judicial decisions and cassation appeal is entirely predictable,” believes executive director of the Institute for Religious Freedom Maksym Vasin.
As reported by the IRS, in November 2014, the court acquitted the believer of Novomoskovsk and confirmed his right to alternative service. The first meeting of Dnipropetrovsk Regional Court of Appeal in this case will be held on 19 February 2015.
In March 2014, the Institute for Religious Freedom published on its website the ‘Clarifications for believerson mobilization and conscription for military training’.