• Conscientious objection to military service : legal standards and practice within the Council of Europe

      Yiannaros, Andreas C. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-10)
      The protection of the emerging right of conscientious objection to military service is one of the most challenging questions in international human rights law. The primary objective of this doctoral thesis is to clearly identify the minimum international legal standards on the phenomenon of conscientious objection to military service as emerging from the jurisprudence of international human rights bodies. Furthermore, this study aims to explore and assess how the Member States of the Council of Europe are effectively implementing these standards within their domestic laws and practice. The implementation of legal standards on conscientious objection in the Council of Europe varies considerably between the 47 Member States of the organisation due to a rapidly transforming sociopolitical landscape that affects the speed in which legislative and procedural amendments take place. Some of the themes explored throughout this thesis include: the legal contours of the right to conscientious objection to military service, including the grounds legally accepted to justify a conscientious objection; procedural guarantees with regard to the application process to be granted conscientious objectors status; the provision of accurate information to members of the public affected by mandatory military service and the extension of these principles to professional members of the armed forces. The thesis is structured as a thematic presentation of applicable international human rights standards and State practice and explores common issues, best practices and future challenges between the Member States of the organisation. The study does not merely aspire to describe the present situation in the Council of Europe, but rather aims to contribute to academic know ledge by proposing the development of a more coherent framework of legal and procedural obligations, based on the need to review and adapt national legislation in accordance to indicators and benchmarks derived from the Council's standard-setting policies.