Article 9 of the ECHR reads:
“1 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2 Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
The applicant complained before the ECtHR that the rejection of his application to perform an alternative to military service due to his status as a conscientious objector was contrary to Article 9 of the ECHR. The Court ruled that the competent authorities failed, in the circumstances of the case, to comply with their positive obligation under Article 9 of the Convention to ensure that interviews of conscientious objectors by the special committee are conducted in conditions guaranteeing procedural efficiency and the equal representation required by section 62 of Law no. 3421/2005, and therefore that there had been a violation of that Article.
From Article 9 of the ECHR (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), it follows that the state has a positive obligation to provide for and ensure the functioning of an effective mechanism to examine applications for conscientious objector status. In order for this mechanism to be considered effective, the bodies responsible for examining the cases under consideration must gurantee impartial and independent judgement.
However, in Papavasilakis v. Greece, the ECtHR found that there was a violation of Article 9 of the ECHR, as the Greek authorities failed to comply with these obligations.
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