Top Swiss court acquits climate activists who called for army boycott


In 2020, three climate activists in the canton of Vaud made a public call for a boycott of army service and the payment of the extra tax that must be paid by all young Swiss men who fail to undertake compulsory military service. A case was brought against the men in their 20s and 30s and they were convicted and fined. On 27 July 2023, the Federal Tribunal announced it had acquitted the men and ordered the federal government to cover their costs, reported RTS.

The original conviction was based on the argument that the men’s actions were against the law and put the country’s security at risk at a time when the army was playing a vital role in responding to the Covid pandemic.

However, the judge at the Federal Tribunal decided the conviction was at odds with the constitutional right to free expression and that the conviction was disproportionate – full court judgement (in French).

The possibility to appeal the decision is open for 10 days.

More on this:
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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