Home > Workplace > Italy > 2007-01-22 - Regional Court of Abruzzo, n. 64

2007-01-22 - Regional Court of Abruzzo, n. 64

Workplace · Italy · Conscientious objection

Conscientious objection is a right one can renounce to

Key facts of the case - The revocation of the license to use the service weapon and to possess weapons was revoked to a security guard, serving in a private security institution, as a consequence of his choice of conscientious objection in the past.
The security guard challenged the prefecture’s decision before the administrative court of Pescara arguing that his request and the subsequent obtaining of the license were meant to overcome the conscientious objector status.

Main reasoning of the Court - The Act 230/1998, which repealed the Act 772/1972, qualifies the conscientious objection as a way to exercise the right to freedom, recognizing the civilian service as an alternative to the "constitutional duty to defend the homeland". Those who chose civilian service are not entitled to possess and use weapons and cannot enter examination competitions for the armed forces: Carabinieri, State Police, Prison Police Service and State Forestry Corps, or any other employment that involves the use of weapons (Act 230/1998, Article 15, para. 6 and 7).
The Constitutional Court (ruling no. 141/2006) confirmed the compliance of these preclusions with the Constitution, holding that they give effectiveness and seriousness to the choice made at the point of "repudiation of arms".
However, the present case can be decided through an assessment that involves constitutional values such as the right to freedom of conscience (Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution) and the right to work (Article 4 of the Constitution).
The Administrative Court considered that conscientious objection is recognized by the State referring to some personal duties imposed by the State that can be in conflict with specific moral values protected by the law. Making conscientious objection a "cage" limiting the citizen’s possibility to change political and/or ethical views and to carry out the work that he has chosen is illogical and unfair. Indeed, the possibility to change their mind and renounce to conscientious objection, even after having carried out civil service is not excluded by the law.
The Court stated that conscientious objection is a personal right and, therefore, it is tied to personality changes and their expression in the social and labour context. The subject may dispose of this right as he prefers, even renouncing to it by taking "inconsistent" conducts as, in this case, the job of security guard.
For all those reasons the administrative court of Pescara accepted the appeal.