Selective Conscientious Objection in International Law: Refusing to Participate in a Specific Armed Conflict

Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights

16 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2009

See all articles by Noam Lubell

Noam Lubell

University of Essex - School of Law

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

This article deals with the issue of selective conscientious objection to military service, and the place of a refusal to take part in a particular armed conflict, within the framework of international law. Selective objection has been a hot topic for debate in the past (e.g. US soldiers sent to Vietnam), and continues to be so today. Thousands of Serbs refused to take part in the Kosovo conflict, many of them having been imprisoned or fled the country. Many hundreds of Israelis have recently refused to perform military service in the Occupied Territories; dozens have been tried and imprisoned for their refusal. Despite the instinctive support that might be raised for these and other individuals involved in controversial conflicts (e.g. Russians refusing to serve in Chechnya), a right of objection to participation in particular conflicts has little approval at the national and international levels. Following a brief examination of the issue of conscientious objection in international law, and an analysis of the difficulties posed by selective objection, this article will attempt to define a specific category of selective conscientious objection to be protected as a recognised right in international law

Keywords: human rights, conscientious objection

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Lubell, Noam, Selective Conscientious Objection in International Law: Refusing to Participate in a Specific Armed Conflict (December 2002). Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1366715

Noam Lubell (Contact Author)

University of Essex - School of Law ( email )

Colchester, Essex CO43SQ
United Kingdom

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