Court orders War Resisters' International to pay war tax

PRESS RELEASE

In front of the City of London Magistrates' Court, 9 February 2004.In front of the City of London Magistrates' Court, 9 February 2004.

The City of London Magistrates Court ordered for War Resisters' International to pay war tax yesterday. Since winter 2001, War Resisters' International withholds a proportion of the income tax payable on behalf of its employees, repesenting the proportion of the UK budget used to fund war [1].

In court, War Resisters' International explained its position, that Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion), which was incorporated into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998 [2], includes the right to conscientious objection to military taxation. Although the representative of the Inland Revenue Recovery Office did concede that he does not have any knowledge of human rights legislation, he declared that the tax law does not provide for any conscientious objection, and that therefore the court should declare WRI's underpayment of income tax as payable debt, and should issue on order for WRI to pay. Although the Magistrates deliberated for roughly 15 minutes, they did not take any of WRI's arguments into account. The Magistrates declared that nothing could be gained by adjourning the case in order to have a full hearing, which could include a legal discussion on human rights, and issued an order against War Resisters' International to pay.

War Resisters' International at present discusses whether to appeal.

For more information please contact:
Andreas Speck @ War Resisters' International, tel +44-20-7278 4040 Conscience - the Peace Tax Campaign, tel +44-20-7561 1061

Notes

[1] See WRI's press release dated 6 February 2004, http://wri-irg.org/news/2004/wri-in-court.htm
[2] European Convention on Human Rights: http://www.hri.org/docs/ECHR50.html#C.Art9; Human Rights Act 1998: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980042.htm