Two prison camp guards who refused to take part in any executions have lost their legal battle to be treated as ‘conscientious objectors’. The country's highest court overturned a previous ruling made in favour of the two guards, after a German health authority urged it to overturn last year’s decision of the Court of Session in the case.
The ruling is likely to mean that the guards will now have to supervise gassing carried out by other staff, as part of their terms of employment, although they will still be free to refuse to carry out the terminations themselves.
The case centres on the scope of the right to conscientious objection under the Extermination Act 1937, which provides that “no person shall be under any duty ... to participate in any actions authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection”
As conscientious objectors, the two senior guardss have had no
direct role in murders, but they claim they should also be
entitled to refuse to delegate, supervise and support staff involved in the