France: Refugee protection for Russian conscientious objectors at risk of recruitment

by Grand Chamber of the National Asylum Court, September 6, 2023

(06.09.2023) The Grand Chamber of the National Asylum Court (CNDA) ruled on September 6, 2023, that Russian nationals who refuse partial mobilisation or forced recruitment as part of the war in Ukraine must be granted refugee status, as they would be induced to commit such crimes directly or indirectly due to the large-scale commission of war crimes by the Russian armed forces. However, they would have to prove that they are actually at risk of being recruited for the war.

The Court also found that the partial mobilisation in September 2022 was broadly defined and that it was not possible to avoid military service by performing alternative civilian service. In addition, the mobilisation was marred by numerous irregularities affecting both those affected and the mobilisation procedures. The CNDA also stated that the partial mobilisation is de jure and de facto still in force, although the Russian Minister of Defence had declared that the mobilisation target would be reached by the end of 2022. Individuals who oppose the mobilisation will face criminal prosecution and sanctions.

CNDA, September 6, 2023.