Logo law and pluralism
Logo Università Bicocca

Autio v. Finalnd, dec., No. 17086/90, ECommHR, 6 December 1991


Conscientious objection to military service and alternative civilian service in Finland. Longer length of the alternative civilian service and prohibition of discrimination on religious grounds.    

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR  
Art. 14 ECHR 


1. A difference in treatment amounts to a discrimination if it does not pursue an objective and reasonable justification: i.e. if the contested measure does not pursue a legitimate aim and if there is no reasonable and proportional relationship between the legitimate aim pursued and the necessary means to achieve it. 

2. If the alternative civilian service lasts longer the length of the military service, there is no violation of Art. 14 ECHR in conjunction with Art. 9 ECHR: this falls within the margin of appreciation of the Member States of the Council of Europe. 
(In the instant case, the applicant Tomi Autio complained to be the victim of a discrimination, due to the longer length of the alternative civil service in respect of the military service).


Contra: Adyan and Others v. Armenia, No. 75604/11, ECtHR (First Section), 12 January 2018