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Refusing to kill: selective conscientious objection and professional military dutiesThis paper explores the legal implications of objections of conscience against participation in particular military activities or conflicts (selective conscientious objection) as these are expressed by professional members of the armed forces. It does so by exploring how established human rights principles and norms related to the right of conscientious objection to military service may be extended to professional members of the armed forces seeking a discharge from military duties. The paper outlines applicable human rights standards relating to objections of conscience and compares how objections by professional members of the armed forces are dealt with by the judiciary in the United Kingdom and Germany. Finally, the paper uses empirical research data to map the recognition of selective conscientious objection to military duties in other member states of the Council of Europe that operate with fully professional armies and provides an extensive analysis of state practice identifying significant gaps, best practices and future challenges for the Council of Europe’s member states.