Country report and updates: Luxembourg

Last revision: 23 Oct 2008
23 Oct 2008

Issues



  • Luxembourg does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.


Military recruitment


Conscription

Conscription was abolished in 19671.


Conscription is not enshrined in the 1868 Constitution2.


Professional soldiers

To fulfil its NATO obligations Luxembourg has a small armed force of volunteers. Its present legal basis is the amended 1952 Military Law.


Volunteers aged between 17 and 25 may join the armed forces. They must sign on
for at least three years, which can be followed by another four year contract3,
up to a total of 15 years4. A 2002 law now allows EU citizens, under certain conditions (i.e. having been resident for a minimum of 36 months in Luxembourg), to join the Luxembourg Army5.


The number of volunteers in the Army has been decreasing since 1994 and Luxembourg has had some difficulty meeting personnel recruiting goals (male and female). In 2000, the Army launched a recruitment campaign aiming at making the voluntary military service more attractive and at motivating more young people to commit themselves for a minimum of 18 months. The pay was increased substantially and civilian guardians were recruited in order to allow volunteers to concentrate on their military training6.


Volunteer soldiers are the only eligible candidates for postmen, customs officers or forest wardens. Moreover they have a priority enrolment right in other areas, as for instance the police7.


Conscientious objection


Conscientious objection for conscripts

In 1963 a legal provision for the right to conscientious objection for conscripts had been introduced8. COs had to perform substitute service for one and a half times as
long as military service. Between 1963 and 1967 there were about five known CO cases. Between 1945 and 1963 there were two CO trials9. As conscription has been abolished in 1967, the issue does presently not arise.


Conscientious objection for professional soldiers

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection by professional soldiers10.


Draft evasion and desertion


In 1982 the Military Penal Code was revised11.
According to Article 51 of the 1982 Military Penal Code, desertion is punishable in peacetime with imprisonment from two months to two years. Under curtain circumstances set out in articles 52 and
following, the punishment can be higher.


No information on practice is available.

Notes


1Mémorial
A n° 43 de 1967: Abolition du service militaire obligatoire,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1967/0043/a043.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008, Mémorial A n° 46 du 08.07.1967,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1967/0046/a046.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




2Constitution,
http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/lu00000_.html,
accessed 29 April 2008




3Lëtzebuerger
Arméi: Formation, Engagement:
http://www.armee.lu/chap04/c040105.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




4Luxembourg
– National Report 2005,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2005/win/national_reports/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




5U.S.
Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs:
Background Note: Luxembourg, January 2008,
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3182.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




6Luxembourg
- National Report 2004,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2004/win/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




7Luxembourg
- National Report 2004,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2004/win/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




8Mémorial
A n° 42 de 1963,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1963/0042/a042.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




9War
Resisters' International: Refusing to bear arms, London, 1998,
http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/archive/luxembourg.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




10War
Resisters' International: Refusing to bear arms, London, 1998,
http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/archive/luxembourg.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




11Mémorial
A n° 114 de 1982: Refonte du code pénal militaire,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1982/0114/a114.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008


Last revision: 23 Oct 2008
23 Oct 2008

Issues



  • Luxembourg does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.


Military recruitment


Conscription

Conscription was abolished in 19671.


Conscription is not enshrined in the 1868 Constitution2.


Professional soldiers

To fulfil its NATO obligations Luxembourg has a small armed force of volunteers. Its present legal basis is the amended 1952 Military Law.


Volunteers aged between 17 and 25 may join the armed forces. They must sign on
for at least three years, which can be followed by another four year contract3,
up to a total of 15 years4. A 2002 law now allows EU citizens, under certain conditions (i.e. having been resident for a minimum of 36 months in Luxembourg), to join the Luxembourg Army5.


The number of volunteers in the Army has been decreasing since 1994 and Luxembourg has had some difficulty meeting personnel recruiting goals (male and female). In 2000, the Army launched a recruitment campaign aiming at making the voluntary military service more attractive and at motivating more young people to commit themselves for a minimum of 18 months. The pay was increased substantially and civilian guardians were recruited in order to allow volunteers to concentrate on their military training6.


Volunteer soldiers are the only eligible candidates for postmen, customs officers or forest wardens. Moreover they have a priority enrolment right in other areas, as for instance the police7.


Conscientious objection


Conscientious objection for conscripts

In 1963 a legal provision for the right to conscientious objection for conscripts had been introduced8. COs had to perform substitute service for one and a half times as
long as military service. Between 1963 and 1967 there were about five known CO cases. Between 1945 and 1963 there were two CO trials9. As conscription has been abolished in 1967, the issue does presently not arise.


Conscientious objection for professional soldiers

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection by professional soldiers10.


Draft evasion and desertion


In 1982 the Military Penal Code was revised11.
According to Article 51 of the 1982 Military Penal Code, desertion is punishable in peacetime with imprisonment from two months to two years. Under curtain circumstances set out in articles 52 and
following, the punishment can be higher.


No information on practice is available.

Notes


1Mémorial
A n° 43 de 1967: Abolition du service militaire obligatoire,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1967/0043/a043.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008, Mémorial A n° 46 du 08.07.1967,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1967/0046/a046.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




2Constitution,
http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/lu00000_.html,
accessed 29 April 2008




3Lëtzebuerger
Arméi: Formation, Engagement:
http://www.armee.lu/chap04/c040105.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




4Luxembourg
– National Report 2005,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2005/win/national_reports/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




5U.S.
Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs:
Background Note: Luxembourg, January 2008,
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3182.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




6Luxembourg
- National Report 2004,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2004/win/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




7Luxembourg
- National Report 2004,
http://www.nato.int/ims/2004/win/luxembourg.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




8Mémorial
A n° 42 de 1963,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1963/0042/a042.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008




9War
Resisters' International: Refusing to bear arms, London, 1998,
http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/archive/luxembourg.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




10War
Resisters' International: Refusing to bear arms, London, 1998,
http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/archive/luxembourg.htm,
accessed 29 April 2008




11Mémorial
A n° 114 de 1982: Refonte du code pénal militaire,
http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1982/0114/a114.pdf,
accessed 29 April 2008


Recent stories on conscientious objection: Luxembourg

15 Jan 2009

In this presentation I will give an overview of the right to conscientious objection, its
legal practices and frameworks in the 27 European Union member states. Before I do so, I want to step back a bit and have a brief look at the existing international standards about the right to
conscientious objection, as these standards allow us to put the practices in the EU member states into a perspective.

15 Jan 2009

In this presentation I will give an overview of the right to conscientious objection, its
legal practices and frameworks in the 27 European Union member states. Before I do so, I want to step back a bit and have a brief look at the existing international standards about the right to
conscientious objection, as these standards allow us to put the practices in the EU member states into a perspective.

15 Apr 2003

CCPR/CO/77/LUX
15 April 2003

(...)

7. The Committee notes, on the one hand, that the State party grants financial assistance to the Christian and Jewish communities only and, on the other hand, that the criteria (such as membership of a religion recognized worldwide and officially in at least one European Union country) may give rise to problems as far as their compatibility with the provisions of articles 18, 26 and 27 of the Covenant is concerned.

15 Apr 2003

CCPR/CO/77/LUX
15 April 2003

(...)

7. The Committee notes, on the one hand, that the State party grants financial assistance to the Christian and Jewish communities only and, on the other hand, that the criteria (such as membership of a religion recognized worldwide and officially in at least one European Union country) may give rise to problems as far as their compatibility with the provisions of articles 18, 26 and 27 of the Covenant is concerned.