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Savda v. Turkey, No. 42730/05, ECtHR (Second Section), 12 September 2012


Conscientious objection to military service in Turkey. Repeated criminal convictions for the refusal to fulfill the conscription. Sincerity of conscientious objections cases and the right to a fair trial.  

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR  
Art. 3 ECHR  
Art. 6 ECHR 


1. The lack of an alternative to military service for conscientious objectors violates Art. 9 ECHR, in the light of the well-established case-law on the subject.

2. Due to the multiple criminal proceedings and to the cumulative effects of the convictions, the applicant was exposed to a “civilian death” ("mort civile"). The seriousness of the measures and penalties imposed caused humiliation and degradation, which constitutes a violation of Art. 3 ECHR.

3. In this particular case, since the national tribunal that heard the case of Mr. Savda was made up of three militaries, the applicant's concerns about the lack of impartiality and independence are well founded. This amounts to a violation of Art. 6 ECHR.