시민사회단체, 유엔 특별보고관에
정부의 양심적 병역거부 대체복무제안(案)에 대한 우려 전달
유엔 종교·신념의 자유 & 표현의 자유 특보,
한국 정부에 국제 인권 기준에 부합하는 대체복무제 도입 촉구
오늘(11/14) 국제앰네스티 한국지부, 군인권센터, 민주사회를위한변호사모임, 전쟁없는세상, 참여연대는 Ahmed Shaheed 종교·신념의 자유 특별보고관(Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief)과 David Kaye 표현의 자유 특별보고관(Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression)에게 한국 정부가 논의 중인 양심적 병역거부 대체복무제안(案)에 대한 우려를 전달했다.
정부가 논의 중인 대체복무제안은 헌법재판소, 대법원의 판결 취지와 국제인권기준에 부합하지 않는 사실상 ‘징벌적 대체복무제’인 것으로 확인되고 있다. 현역 육군 복무기간 기준 2배인 3년의 복무기간, 복무 영역은 교정시설에서 합숙 복무로 단일화, 심사기구는 국방부 산하에 설치, 현역 복무 중에는 대체복무를 신청할 수 없는 것이 골자이다.
시민사회단체는 특별보고관들에게 전달한 서한을 통해 한국의 양심적 병역거부 상황과 한국 정부 대체복무제안의 문제점을 자세히 설명하고, 지난 수십 년 동안 발표된 유엔 자유권위원회 권고들과 유엔 인권위원회 결의안 등에 근거하여 다음의 5가지를 한국 정부에 권고해달라고 요청했다. ▷비전투적이고 민간(civillian) 성격이며 징벌적인 성격이 아닌, 유엔 인권기구의 권고에 부합하는 대체복무제를 도입할 것 ▷대체복무 기간은 군 복무 기간과 비슷해야 하며 그보다 길게 설정하려면 합리적이고 객관적인 이유에 근거할 것. 유엔 자유권위원회 등의 권고에 따라 대체복무 기간은 군 복무기간의 최대 1.5배를 넘어서는 안 됨 ▷대체복무 신청과 심사는 군 당국의 통제 하에 있어서는 안 되며 군과 완전히 분리된 민간 행정의 관할로 할 것 ▷다양한 형태의 대체복무를 마련할 것 ▷양심적 병역거부는 군 복무 전과 복무 중, 복무 이후 언제든 이뤄질 수 있다는 점을 인식하여 군 복무 중 병역거부권을 인정할 것 등이다.
앞서 지난 11월 7일(수) 유엔 종교·신념의 자유 특별보고관과 표현의 자유 특별보고관은 한국 정부에 양심적 병역거부에 대한 서한을 보냈다고 밝혔다. 특별보고관들은 서한을 통해 11월 1일 대법원의 무죄 판결과 한국에서 대체복무제 입법 과정이 시작된 것을 환영했다. 이어 한국이 대법원의 판결 취지와 국제 인권법에 맞는 대체복무제를 도입해야 한다고 강력하게 권고하며, 이를 위한 기술적 지원을 제공하겠다고 제안했다.
그동안 유엔 자유권위원회 등 인권기구들은 한국 정부가 국제 인권 기준에 따라 양심적 병역거부자들에게 대체복무를 제공할 의무가 있으며, 이러한 대체복무는 군으로부터 독립된 민간(civilian) 성격이어야 하고, 기간 등에 있어 차별적이거나 징벌적이지 않아야 한다고 꾸준히 권고해왔다. 시민사회단체들은 이에 따라 한국 정부가 국제 인권 기준과 헌법재판소, 대법원의 판결 취지에 부합하는 대체복무제를 도입할 것을 촉구했다.
- 별첨1 : 유엔 종교·신념의 자유, 표현의 자유 특별보고관에게 전달한 한국 시민사회단체 서한
- 별첨2 : 유엔 종교·신념의 자유, 표현의 자유 특별보고관이 한국 정부에 전달한 양심적 병역거부에 대한 서한
* 보도자료 [원문보기/다운로드]
South Korea Must Introduce Alternative Service that is Compatible with International Human Rights Standards
Submitted by Amnesty International Korea, Lawyers for a Democratic Society – Minbyun, Military Human Rights Center Korea, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and World Without War
We are submitting this communication to inform the UN Special Rapporteurs on the current discussion on introducing alternative service for conscientious objectors in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). After the recent ruling at the Constitutional Court which ask the South Korean government to introduce alternative services until 31 December 2019, the Government formed a working group to draft a bill for alternative service. However, the draft bill proposed by the Government working group does not conform to international human rights standards due to its punitive elements according to media reports and informed sources. This clearly goes against the recommendations given to the Government by several UN human rights mechanisms on introducing alternative service for conscientious objectors. The Government plans to announce the bill for the introduction of alternative service in the next few weeks and it is imperative that this bill is in line with international human rights standards.
South Korea operates a system of military conscription under which all male citizens should serve in the military for 21 months. Unfortunately, there is no alternative service for conscientious objectors even though recommendations have been repeatedly made to South Korean government by various UN human rights mechanisms to introduce such service. Every year, hundreds of men have been to prison for exercising their freedom of thought, conscience or religion or belief in the South Korea) (see Table 1. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, more than 19,300 conscientious objectors have been imprisoned in the country over the last 68 years, an accumulative total of 36,800 years of confinement.
<Table 1 : Conscientious Objectors in South Korea Since 2009>
(Unit : persons)
Other Personal belief
2. Current situation at the Courts
The Constitutional Court ruled on 28 June 2018 that Article 5(1) of the Military Service Act did not conform to the Constitution as it did not include provisions for alternative service for conscientious objectors to military service. This ruling gives the South Korean government until 31 December 2019 to introduce alternative service. This ruling was followed by a Supreme Court ruling on 1 November 2018 in which it ruled in a full bench decision by 9-4 that a Jehovah’s Witness objecting to military service for reasons of conscience could not be punished under Article 88(1) of the Military Service Act. The ruling deems conscientious objection a “justifiable ground” for failing to enlist or comply with a call up within a prescribed period after receiving notification.
At the time of the Supreme Court ruling, approximately 100 individuals remained imprisoned. This ruling also followed a total of 118 acquittals of conscientious objectors at lower courts since 2004 and is expected to have an influence on over 966 cases pending at courts of all levels including over 200 pending at the Supreme Court. It is unclear at the time of writing what steps the government intends to take to address their release and provide remedy for all of those affected such as through pardon, expunging criminal records and/or compensation.
Importantly, in a supplementary opinion submitted to the majority opinion by Justices Park Jung-hwa, Kim Seon- soo and Noh Jeong-hee they write that: “the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by South Korea has the same force as domestic law according to Article 6, Clause 1, of the Constitution and can serve directly as a norm for adjudication.”
3. Problems of the Government Draft’s Bill
Following the 28 June Constitutional Court ruling, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) formed a working group to draft a bill for alternative service. The working group was composed of staff from the MND, Military Manpower Administration (MMA) (which sits under the MND) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). In addition, a consultative committee of civilian experts was formed composed of academics, civil society organization representatives and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK). The work of this consultative committee was coordinated by a representative from the MoJ and a representative from the MMA.
A total of seven bills for the establishment of alternative service have been submitted by lawmakers to date, including four bills submitted by Democracy and Peace Party, Bareun Mirae Party and Liberty Korea Party lawmakers following the 28 June Constitutional Court ruling which were far more punitive in nature than previous bills in particular in terms of the nature of work (i.e. mine removal) and length (i.e. 2 times the length of military service or longer)
A public consultation hearing was held jointly by the MND, MoJ and MMA on 4 October in which possible options for alternative service were presented. In particular, it focused on three aspects: 1) length of service, 2) form of service (whether or not those performing alternative service would be housed on site or be able to commute), and 3) field of service Press reports and communication with advisory committee members indicate that the bill when proposed to the National Assembly will have the following elements that fall of short of international human rights standards and law and are likely to be punitive and discriminatory:
1. Length of alternative service set at twice that of military service with on-site shared accommodation;
2. Service limited to work within correctional facilities;
3. Evaluation committee for assessment of applications to be established under the Ministry of National
4. Applications for conscientious objection will not be accepted during military service.
4. Suggested Recommendations
- South Korea should introduce forms of alternative service for conscientious objectors that are of a non-combatant or civilian character and not of a punitive nature, and compatible with the reasons for objection as recommended by the UN human rights bodies.
- Alternative service should be of a comparable length to military service and any additional length must be based on reasonable and objective criteria. The proposal by the Government to set the length at twice that of military service would make this the longest alternative service in the world. At its longest,alternative service should not exceed 1.5 times the length of military service consistent with recommendations from the Human Rights Committee.
- The decision regarding the recognition of the right of conscientious objection should be taken by an administrative civilian authority entirely separate from the military authorities and its composition should guarantee maximum independence and impartiality.
- South Korea should introduce various forms of alternative service for conscientious objectors which are compatible with the reasons for conscientious objection as recommended by the Commission on Human Rights.
- Recognizing that a conscientious objection can arise at any time including before, during and after military service, if there is no complete exemption, the authorities should make alternative service accessible to all those with a genuine objection at any time including during military service.
5. Contact Details
- Tom Rainey-Smith, Campaigns Team, Amnesty International Korea / Email: email@example.com Phone: +82-10-6379-2273
- Yong-Suk Lee, Conscientious Objection Team, World Without War / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +82-10-2878-0851
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