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Cover von: Das Vorhaben eines allgemeinen Gesellschaftsjahres vor dem Verfassungs-, Völker- und Europarecht
Ferdinand Weber, Christian Richter

Das Vorhaben eines allgemeinen Gesellschaftsjahres vor dem Verfassungs-, Völker- und Europarecht

Rubrik: Abhandlungen
Jahrgang 60 (2022) / Heft 3, S. 288-321 (34)
Publiziert 23.11.2022
DOI 10.1628/avr-2022-0017
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The idea of introducing a mandatory national civil service has recently been revived in political, philosophical and legal debates. According to the basic idea, it would oblige young adults to perform a one-year service after choosing between the armed forces and a broad range of civil service-options. The aim is to strengthen societal cohesion or at least prevent disintegration. Against this background, the article first unfolds the broader legal-political context on general integration debates, the legal prohibition of forced labour and shortly looks at a newly introduced service in France. After that, hurdles and possibilities in German constitutional law which vividly resemble its dark past with forced labour until 1945 are being analysed, thereby also taking into account questions that lie in the sphere of both constitutional and public international law at the same time, e.g. extending the personal scope of the service to foreign nationals with a view to the armed forces. The larger part of the article then examines the idea's conformity with public international law norms and the law of the European Union. In a first step, article 4 (2) and (3) of the European Convention of Human Rights and the corresponding jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights are being examined while pointing at the special features of the Convention. Then, article 8 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as understood by the Human Rights Committee and ILO-Conventions are taken into account. After that, the article deals with possible problems that could stem from EU norms on state aid law, fundamental freedoms, secondary law and the Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the last section, the article shortly addresses two minor, albeit important aspects regarding renumeration against the German minimum wage act and problematic aspects of administrative capacity which could become constitutionally relevant under certain conditions. In the end, the article argues that the introduction of a mandatory national civil service would require a constitutional amendment for several reasons, but can be modelled in conformity with human rights norms from public international law and EU law.