How to do community service ordered by the court

KDV-Aktuell 1/99 from March 30, 1999

From the content:

  1. Can you defend yourself against conscription?

A decision by the Potsdam Regional Court surprised the republic. The court submitted the question to the Federal Constitutional Court as to whether conscription is unconstitutional. The decision has not yet been made, but the question is legitimate and must now be examined by the Federal Constitutional Court.

Do you still have to obey drafts? As long as the military and civil service law apply, there is compulsory military service and alternative service. Nobody is barred from filing an objection (free of charge) and taking legal action against their convocation (there will be a fee if they lose the trial). According to the Potsdam decision, one can reasonably argue that conscription is considered unconstitutional. At the same time, you can specifically apply for the convocation to be suspended until the Federal Constitutional Court has decided.

Anyone who is called up for community service must also argue that any alternative service depends on compulsory military service and is therefore invalid if compulsory military service is no longer constitutional.

The reason for objection and action against conscription for military and community service is relatively simple:

The normal case of the Basic Law is the basic right from Article 12. According to this, freedom of training and career choice is guaranteed, forced labor is only permitted in the event of a court-ordered imprisonment.

Compulsory military service and alternative service is expressly permitted in Article 12a of the Basic Law, but it is only an "optional" provision. Since it is extremely intrusive in the life of the conscript, it must not be regulated arbitrarily. It needs to be justified. This is defined in Article 87a of the Basic Law: "The Federation sets up armed forces for defense." Here is the problem. If there is no current threat, Germany is surrounded by friends and no threat can be identified even in the distance, how can one speak of a need for defense? Federal President Herzog recalled this at a Bundeswehr commanders' meeting. So it is entirely conceivable that the Federal Constitutional Court will revoke compulsory military service. The Federal Constitutional Court said as early as 1978 that the Bundeswehr could also be organized as a volunteer army, and that the legislature was not committed to compulsory military service.

Anyone who not only wants to lodge an objection but also wants to file a suit against a convocation should consult a lawyer in order to make the argumentation legally precise. In order for the administrative court to issue an interim order and suspend the convocation, applications must be made and certain formal and deadline regulations must be observed. In terms of content, it should be argued that the court recognizes the constitutional problem.

It is certainly useful to describe the interference with one's own life: delayed education and / or loss of income, separation from the family, loss of many freedoms such as freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, the right to strike, the right to petition in community with others. Such encroachments on fundamental rights are significant. That this is no longer justified when there is no threat seems to be the main argument of the Potsdam Regional Court. Ultimately, it is about encroachments on fundamental rights which, according to Article 12a of the Basic Law, are only made possible, not required.


  1. Alignment of the civil service period to the basic military service period

The central office KDV and some of its member associations have launched a "10 instead of 13" campaign. The current governing parties, the SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens, have promised over the years that they will at least adjust the length of civilian service to the length of military service. Anyone can take part in this campaign via the Internet and send an e-mail to the two responsible MPs. The internet address:

MEPs can also be reached by post, fax and telephone. For the SPD: Dieter Dzewas, MP, Bundeshaus, 53113 Bonn, Tel .: 0228 / 16-83419, Fax: 0228 / 16-86426, E-Mail:

In a joint declaration on February 19, 1999, some youth associations called for the same length of service for military and community service. The German Federal Youth Association, the Association of German Catholic Youth, the Youth of the German Federation of Trade Unions, the Green alternative youth alliance and the Young Socialists in the SPD declared:

We call on the federal government to shorten the civil service (13 months) to the duration of the military service of 10 months. Conscientious objectors can no longer be punished with additional service.

The Basic Law is clear: "The duration of alternative service must not exceed the duration of military service." (Article 12a of the Basic Law) The CDU / CSU / FDP federal government had deliberately provided conscientious objectors in a worse position. That must end now. The Federal Council and the parliamentary groups of the SPD and the Greens have rightly called for a reduction in the length of service for community service in the past legislative periods.

Basic military service and community service must be treated equally. Both groups provide a service to society that is generally recognized and is exhausting and stressful in its own way.

The two governing parties, the SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens, are putting your credibility with the younger generation at risk if you do not eliminate the current injustice and unequal treatment. The credibility of the parties depends crucially on whether what is proposed and promised before the election also applies after the election has been won.

The elimination of existing injustices is not a question of the "future of the Bundeswehr". That is why the establishment of the Defense Structure Commission must not be an excuse for doing nothing.

We call on the governing parties to re-introduce and pass the legislative proposal to align the length of civilian service with the length of military service, which Rudolf Scharping and his parliamentary group introduced to the German Bundestag on October 25, 1995.