From Italy, Switzerland, and Greece, support for the Ukrainian peace movement.

The Nonviolent Movement, as part of the Campaign to Object to War, has mandated lawyer Nicola Canestrini to intervene in the Ukrainian Supreme Court in Kyiv called to discuss the appeals of two conscientious objectors, Andrii Vyshnevetsky and Vitaly Alekseenko, in hearings set for May 22 and 25, 2023. Lawyer Canestrini has submitted an “amicus curiae” brief as an international human rights expert, signed together with Swiss Derek Brett (EBCO – European Bureau for Conscientious Objection) and Greek Foivos Latrellis (Amnesty International).

“We ask the Supreme Court,” the document reads, “to take into account this opinion of ours on grounds of international public interest in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy, to ensure a fair trial under the Constitution of Ukraine, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The appeal goes on to argue that:

  • –  Ukraine has a legal obligation to guarantee the human right to conscientious objection to military service (including under current martial law);
  • –  Conscientious objection as an individual right must be protected regardless of the individual’s membership in religious organizations;
  • –  Conscientious objectors who are forcibly conscripted must be allowed to leave the armed forces.

Finally, the three petitioners conclude thus: “We advise the Supreme Court to order the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi to recognize the right to conscientious objection and to determine the procedure for discharge from military service for those who wish to exercise the right to conscientious objection, which raises fundamental questions about human rights and constitutional law; therefore in the public interest and to uphold the rule of law we urge the Court to take into account this “amicus curiae” of ours.

Lawyer Nicola Canestrini, on behalf of the Nonviolent Movement, stated jointly with EBCO and Amnesty, that “the signatories exclusively pursue the public interest of international civil society and the human rights community in upholding human rights to due process, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the full scope of related interdependent rights, including human rights to conscientious objection to military service. We believe that democracy is inseparable from the rule of law, which requires full respect for human rights.”