Draft Paper With Regard to

The Dutch Peace Tax Bill and Similar Bills Elsewhere

An analysis of the impediments raised against such legislation

5 Some Specific Problems

5.1. Constitutional Problems

5.1.1. Violation of the Budget Right
Introduction

In a representative democracy it is not the individual but the parliament that decides about the expenditure of tax money.

This is the general rule, but this rule is not absolute.

In the first question on the American federal income tax form it is asked whether the taxpayer wants that $1 goes to the Campaign Fund for the presidential elections. In some states of the US a similar sort of question is asked.

So it is imaginable that in a democracy an individual taxpayer decides the destination of a part of his tax money.

When the parliament itself would decide to lay down only a provision for conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money, the budget right would not be violated. Moreover there is no violation of that right, because the parliament keeps the right to change the law and to withdraw the aforesaid provision.

Also with respect to the German Church-tax an element is to be found on which the taxpayer himself is allowed to decide about the destination of the paid tax.

The Peace Fund will be under the Parliamentary control. The Minister of Defence is responsible to Parliament about the expenditure of the Peace Fund. Democracy is not endangered at all, it would appear.

When the amount in the Peace Fund is relatively modest, then parliament will not be hindered in its work. When the amount will become larger because many taxpayers apply for the provision, then this fact will get some expression in the parliamentary elections and then in parliament, in the parliamentary decision making.

The budget right is in most countries a product of the fight between more or less absolutist rulers and the parliaments to protect the people against arbitrary rule and abuse.

Parliament and the government have to be careful to use only valid reasons for using the budget right towards its own population. Such a reason can be, of course, that a consistent policy of the levying of taxes on the one hand and the balanced expenditure of general resources, under which the tax revenue, on the other hand, could be carried out better by a democratically elected parliament than by individuals or by referendum.

But the budget right should not be made absolute so that an accommodation for a small durable minority would never be possible.

Does the creation of a provision for conscientious objectors against the military destination of tax money violate the budget right of the parliament?

Would such a provision necessarily mean the introduction of an open ended finance provision?

As said before the budget right is a right of great value, won in the past in troubles with all kinds of potentates. It is a central right in the system of parliamentary rights. It is at the heart of parliamentary power. Without this right parliament would become a paper tiger.

In the Netherlands the legislator has the budget right, the legislator is parliament together with the government. They decide about destinations of the expenditure out of the general resources, fed inter alia by the tax revenue.

In the opinion of the introducers of the bill, the bill does fully respect the budget right. The introducers state that in the decision procedure of the State budget the expected quantity of the revenue and expenditure in relation to the provision has to be taken into account. The diverted money will go to a Peace Fund established by law and of which the purpose and direction has been laid down by the legislator.[1]

There is no compulsory relation between the payment to the Peace Fund on the one hand and a corresponding diminution of the Defence budget on the other hand. The bill does not propose that with each guilder paid to the Peace Fund the defence budget has to be diminished with one guilder. The legislator will keep all its freedom to decide as only one on the Defence budget.

The Council of State is of another opinion.[2] The Council mentions in connection with this that it is the intention of the introducers of the bill, according to the explanatory memorandum, that activities will be financed from the Peace Fund, which received no consideration for governmental support before, at least not in the same measure. This intention is according to the Council of State incompatible with the budget right of the legislator.

The Council of State mentions in connection to this the fact that the introducers consider the quantity of the amount that is paid yearly into the peace Fund as a political signal, not to be disregarded.

The Council of State is of the opinion that in some circumstances it can be right when the legislator restricts its own freedom by taking away resources directly from the general resources in order to feed a fund.

The Council considers that in this case there is not enough reason to establish such a special fund.

The Council points out that the quantity of the amount taken away from the general resources is unpredictable and changes each year.

Against this can be replied that in a formal sense there is no violation of the budget right at all. The legislator can increase the defence expenditure always, also when very many objectors would apply for the proposed provision.

When the bill becomes a law the result would be that the legislator has to put the question each year whether the total amount that is taken away from the general tax revenue to the Peace Fund, will be diminished from the budget of the Department of Defence. There is no legal obligation to do that, but it cannot be excluded beforehand that the Defence budget will be kept on the same level in certain circumstances, but of course the intention of the bill can be important in the considerations concerned.

The consequences of the proposed provision are not anymore unpredictable than a number of other tax regulations. Remember the regulation of tax deductibilities.[3]

The budget right would be a real impediment for the proposed provision when the legislator would not be capable any more to spend enough money for some desired legal values.

In the case of the bill the legislator continues to be in supreme power within the real circumstances. The legislator can, if he thinks it is just and appropriate, keep the military expenditure on the same level and even a substitution effect cannot be excluded.

The introducers of the bill have made this possible, because otherwise there would be a violation of the budget right.

The Political parties

In the CDA-report[4] ‘Gewetensbezwaren vragen aandacht’ (Conscientious objections attract attention) d.d. 1983 it is emphasized that a possible recognition should not influence the budget laid down by the legislator.

According to the MPs of the CDA in 1993 it cannot be the intention to create new destinations for the tax money which is diverted from going to the Defence Department. They assume that the introducer does not want to create a provision which de facto implicates an increase of taxes.

The MPs of the CDA ask how many civil servants are necessary for the implementation of the proposed provision, what it costs, what the administrative and procedural consequences will be and the relation to the budget right, when the implementation of the bill leads to extra costs.

The MPs of the PvdA were of the opinion that the bill would violate the constitutionally based budget right.

The MPs of the VVD mentioned that this bill threatened the budget right of parliament, for tax money flows in the general resources in relation to which parliament decides about the destinations. The MPs of this party remark also that giving the choice implicitly to the citizens of paying part of their tax money to the Peace Fund means taking away this choice from parliament.

The MPs of the SGP ask in relation to the expenditure of the Peace Fund in the domain of nonviolent conflict resolution and the fact that this fund has to be a part of the budget of the Department of Defence[5] whether this is not a policy consideration. They ask whether the introducer of the bill is also of the opinion that the legislator has the budget right and that it cannot be the intention of the same legislator that a possible provision for conscientious objectors in fact would restrict its budget right.

The study-meeting organised by the Interchurch Peace Council (IKV) on March 23 1991.[6]

B.P.Vermeulen remarks that the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill is contrary to the budget right as laid down in section 105 of the Dutch Constitution. In the first paragraph of that section is prescribed that the budget of the revenues and expenditures of the Kingdom are laid down by law.

Further Vermeulen mentions that the budget right guarantees, inter alia, that only the democratically legitimate legislator decides the destination of the tax revenue. He considers the proposal of the BWD[7] in the past, including that every citizen would be competent to diminish his share in the defence budget and divert this tax money to a peace fund, as wrong. Such a construction has in his opinion as a consequence that without the approval of the legislator a defence budget, fixed by this legislator, will be diminished with an amount X, which amount, also without the approval of the legislator will be used for another purpose.

Vermeulen considers further that the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill is less contrary to the budget right, because the defence budget is not diminished and the expenditure of the Peace Fund can be compensated by reductions elsewhere. But he wonders why the legislator would create such a new budget item of unpredictable quantity for the financing of activities, which activities, without this provision, would not have had enough priority to be financed.

For Vermeulen the big question is whether the budget of the Peace Fund cannot be manipulated or whether the possibility exists that the minister can manage it so that the ultimate result is the same as before the introduction of the proposed provision. When such manipulation would be contrary to the intention of the bill, Vermeulen is of the opinion that parliament will not give the right of say away in this matter.

MP Willems, then responsible for the bill, mentions that parliament considers the budget right as sacred and to be respected always.

Former MP De Visser, one of the introducers of the bill, replied that the budget right is violated by a lot of open ended regulations over a long period of time.

M.Stelling is of the opinion that when parliament accepts also the intrinsic intention of the bill, one must speak of a wanted budget item, which does not violate the budget right.

H.Kossen, member of the initiative group,[8] remarks an analogy with the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act. According to that act the State has given away the right of say over some people, after this people have performed an alternative duty. The intention of the bill is not that the minister uses resources of the fund for other budget items, neither when these budget items are almost similar to the purposes of the Peace Fund. The Peace Fund has to work for an alternative policy of peace and security within the Department of Defence and the parliament has to control that.

J.Verdonk remarks that the existing tax regulation for deductibility for gifts already provides a possibility to the citizens to, although limited, influence the domain of the budget right, for this budget right is based on an estimation of the incoming flow of tax money and the volume of this flow depends on what the citizen decides to donate to charities etc.

The first IKV-committee on this subject.[9]

This committee considers that according to the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill the diverted tax money has to be transferred to the Peace Fund whereas it can be imaginable that another purpose than the purpose of the Peace Fund is more urgent some time. The aforesaid committee considers this a violation of the budget right, although they also consider that the legislator can address this by changing the law.

In the opinion of the aforesaid committee the establishment of and the payments to the Peace Fund will cause real moves and changes within the totality of the tax revenue, mainly due to the amount of the payments to the Peace Fund depend each year on the number of objectors that will apply for the provision.

In the matter of the principle of the budget right there are two points in the view of this committee which are not relevant, firstly namely the guess that there will only be a relatively small number of applying objectors and secondly the creation of an examination as a means to diminish the use of the provision.

The aforesaid committee considers the violation of the budget right the more serious, because of the setting of a precedent. When other people with as legitimate conscientious objections against other tax destinations ask for a provision also, such a provision has to be given. So the budget right would be undermined further, according to this committee.

S.R.A.van Eijck.[10]

Van Eijck is of the opinion that the bill does not violate the budget right formally, but materially. He considers that the purpose of the bill is that expenditure which received no consideration for government support before, at least not in the same measure, will be financed from the Peace Fund. He considers further that when money is taken away from the general resources, the result will be that there have to be savings elsewhere in favour of the new State task of the Peace Fund, that if there were no savings as mentioned before, an increase of taxes is necessary.

He argues further that because of the expenditure of the Peace Fund some expenditure of some departments cannot be necessary anymore, and that the legislator can always increase the defence budget. He considers the conscientious objection against such a substitution of budget money is possible and this makes a vicious circle in his opinion. On these grounds Van Eijck concludes that the bill violates the constitutional, parliamentary budget right.

The Pax Christi memorandum.[11]

In a memorandum of the Dutch section of Pax Christi F.van Iersel states that the establishment of a Peace Fund under the direction and responsibility of the Minister of Defence will only lead to a slight change in the tasks of the minister. He considers therefore that the budget right and the collective character of the security policy are not violated.

A conclusion can be that there is division of opinion whether the bill means a violation of the parliamentary budget right or not.

5.1.2. Defence is a Collective, Indivisible Good
The Catholic bishops

The Dutch Roman Catholic Bishops Conference considered in a letter d.d. April 12 1984[12] to the IKV, that taxes are not levied for a specific achievement of the State on behalf of the paying citizen, but for the whole of the collective good for which the State is responsible and that therefore there is no place for a provision for conscientious objectors in this matter.

The aforementioned bishops are of the opinion that defence, along with the maintenance of public order, seawalls etcetera, belongs to the so called indivisible collective services: services which every member of the society is provided with and that because of their nature cannot be denied to those who do not appreciate them.

The introducers of the bill reply[13] that the objection of the aforementioned bishops presume that the conscientious objectors would not appreciate a security policy as an indivisible collective good. In the view of the introducers of the bill such a presumption does not do the conscientious objectors justice, because their objections are only directed against the application of military means to guarantee security. According to the introducers the conscientious objections do not at all concern the payment of taxes or the obligations to pay taxes, but are aimed exclusively at the military destination of money that comes out of the taxing system.

For this reason the introducers of the bill cannot consider the aforesaid objection of the bishops. They continue stating that, of course, strictly speaking, the term ‘defence tax’ is not correct, because there is no so called purpose levy on this matter. The introducers of the bill would on practical grounds alone not want to make a proposal to create a purpose levy in this matter. They consider the objection of the bishops as too formalistic all the same, because neither the treaty provisions nor the Dutch Constitution object against the creation of a legal provision giving accommodation to the objections of the person concerned.

The introducers further argue that the activities that will be made possible through the institution of a Peace Fund, into which a certain percentage of the money that conscientious objectors have paid will flow, will have to be directed towards upholding fundamental legal values and that these activities are also in the interest of people without such conscientious objections.

The Kalkar levy.[14]

The legislator has made in connection with another so called collective good, namely the Kalkar levy, the purpose tax for the development of nuclear energy, a provision for conscientious objectors against nuclear energy. In that example the energy consumer with conscientious objections to nuclear energy could not withdraw from the aimed intended advantages.

The VVD.[15]

The MPs of the VVD state in 1993 about this subject that defence is a purely collective good, and that taxpaying citizens cannot withdraw from financing that.

H.Kossen[16] asks whether a same sort of provision for conscientious objections can be made as in other domains, if a citizen is responsible for that part of the tax payment that will be given a military destination and if the said citizen has conscientious objections against that destination. He asks further whether a legal provision can be made which gives exemption to participation in a policy that will be unviolated itself. In the opinion of Kossen such depends on what that exemption means in this situation.

Kossen points out that in this bill the objecting citizen gets the right to divert his defence tax money to an official Peace Fund under the rule of the Minister of Defence. Kossen mentions that this has been chosen because of anticipating the objection against the proposed provision that defence is an indivisible collective good, from the financing of which nobody can withdraw, like nobody can withdraw from participating in the financing of the maintenance of the dykes in the Netherlands.

Kossen further mentions that the initiative group[17] replied by stating that they are dedicated to peace and security too and that they do not want to withdraw from their responsibility for the protection of these values. Kossen argues further that they have insurmountable objections to the military means, used to protect these values. Kossen states that the initiative group gives preference to other means and wants to spend tax money by other means, remembering the word of Isaiah, that rest and security are the results of justice .[18]

Kossen further points out that the resources of the Peace Fund are destined for financing activities in the domain of alternative security policies and, because this is about security policy, the Peace Fund has to be under the responsibility of the Minister of Defence.

The Pax Christi memorandum.[19]

Van Iersel mentions in the already mentioned Pax Christi memorandum about this subject that security is an indivisible collective good. Van Iersel argues that the peace and security policy consists of different elements, not all of a military character, but also of ecological, economical, political and cultural character, and that a security policy needs to be felt to be legitimate by the population, a population which is pluralistic.

Van Iersel is of the opinion that durable resistance against elements of the security policy shows that the different ideas about that policy did not get sufficient political translation in this domain.

In the opinion of Van Iersel the reference to security as an indivisible collective good cannot implicate that the legitimacy of this diversity and the right of a pluralistic policy on peace and security are denied.

Van Iersel mentions further that conscientious objectors against military service cannot withdraw from the security which is the product of military efforts, so in the domain of this indivisible collective good tolerance is possible, also for conscientious objectors to the military destination of tax money.

5.1.3. Violation of Democratic Decision Making

The question whether a provision for conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money will violate the principle of democratic decision making.

Of course this subject is closely related to the problem of the already discussed budget right.

The Roman Catholic bishops

The Roman Catholic bishops[20] are of the opinion that the decision making on collective goods as defence can only be carried out by the competent state organs, that in a democratic rule of law within a state, on the one hand there is the obligation of tax paying and on the other hand there is the right to participate in the decision making by means of active and passive suffrage, freedom of speech and freedom of association, freedom of public meeting and of demonstration.

The bishops consider that a legal possibility of being exempted, and very selectively at that, from the obligation of tax paying, can strike at the roots of the principle of democratic decision making about the government budget, equally binding for all.

According to the bishops this is a crucial impediment to the provision of possibilities of dispensation in paying taxes. They consider it significant that the money, because of the exemption of the person concerned, does not have to be paid as tax, will go into a fund with another destination than the destinations of government expenditure laid down by parliament.

They point out that this would inevitably lead to either higher taxes for the people who do not have conscientious objections, or a lower level of expenditure for the collective goods concerned and that this therefore would be contrary to the principle of democratic decision making.

The introducers of the bill reject the suggestion that the democratic decision making is hindered in one way or another.

In their opinion it has to be stressed

The introducers of the bill consider in this respect that the democratic procedures remain intact.

Further they remark, that, if at any instance the house of representatives would be of the opinion that collective goods, such as national defence, were endangered, it would be free to take this into account when deciding on the budget for defence.

As said before the introducers of the bill admit that their proposal may implicate a rise of taxes, but they state also that consideration has to be given to the fact that the activities that will be made possible through the establishment of the Peace Fund, into which a certain percentage of the money flows paid by the conscientious objectors to the internal revenue service, will have to be directed towards upholding fundamental legal values.

I will add to this that such an upholding of fundamental legal values is based on democratic decision making.

The introducers of the bill consider further that the legislator has the power, in laying down the yearly budget, to make certain activities that henceforth are undertaken by the Peace Fund no longer chargeable to other departments and that in this it is not necessary to think of the Department of Defence only.

They consider that also the budget of Development Cooperation, or the Department of Social Affairs, the Department of Welfare, Public Health and Culture and perhaps other departments can be involved.

So the democratic procedures remain unimpaired, as is the case with the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act, according to which act immense consequences were possible for the Department of Social Affairs, if too many people would apply for the provision.[21] The recognised conscientious objectors have to perform their alternative service under the ultimate direction and responsibility of last mentioned department. Also this cannot be considered as a, perhaps minimal, restriction of the procedure of democratic decision making.

The CDA.[22]

The MPs of the CDA remark that the introducer mentions that a collective legal value, decided by the Government, has not to be endangered, that the consequence cannot be that a lower amount will be spent for upholding that legal value than democratically decided.

The MPs of the CDA are of the opinion that a conscientious objector is not allowed to force the state to spend less money for defence with a call of freedom of conscience, because with regard to conscientious objections only the participation to the objected policy is relevant, not the objected policy itself.

Pax Christi

Van Iersel[23] states on this subject in the memorandum of Pax Christi Netherlands, that it can be considered as undemocratic behaviour when a minority wants to withdraw from the implementation of political decisions of the majority, that the refusal to pay taxes can be considered as a violation of the legal order, of the principle that everybody is equal in the eyes of the law and the principle of reciprocity of rights and duties.

But Van Iersel also remarks that the complaint of undemocratic behaviour is made too fast and easy towards a minority, that minorities have to respect decisions of the majority, but that on the other hand in a strong democracy the majority is prepared to make exceptions for minorities.

Van Iersel points out that in the system of representative democracy a majority of the public opinion about a subject cannot always translate or realise, this into a political decision in conformity with that opinion,[24] let alone a durable minority which is incapable of achieving this.

Van Iersel considers that the restrictions of the system of a representative democracy can be an extra reason for the government to give accommodation, some sort of legitimacy and in the case of tax refusal: more legality, to minorities whose opinions never get a political translation.

The first IKV committee.[25]

The first IKV committee considered, in 1990, in this matter that acceptance of the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill would mean accommodation to the durable resistance of an important minority in the Dutch population against elements of the present day security policy which cannot find sufficient translation in the parliamentary decision making process.

5.1.4. Violation of the Equality Principle

Does accommodation to conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money mean that the equality principle is violated, such as the Council of State suggests in its advice d.d. November 1 1989?[26]

The Council of State doubts in its advice whether the alternative duty, the payment of an equal amount for a desired instead of an undesired purpose can be called equivalent. Also Vermeulen makes such a remark during the study meeting of the IKV on March 23 1991.[27] Vermeulen asks whether there is no violation of the equality principle between the tax objectors who get according to the bill a right of say of a part of their tax money and the other citizens who do not get such a right of say.

One of the characters of provisions in the domain of conscientious objections is that exemption of the objected duty means that the conscientious objector has to perform an alternative duty, at least of the same quantity or weight.[28]

In the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill the alternative duty is the payment of an equal amount to the Peace Fund, which Fund will have to finance activities to guarantee fundamental legal goods.

The conscientious objector has to pay the same amount of money as the person without such conscientious objections.

Now the question whether there is some immaterial advantage for the conscientious objector, because he pays in support of a desired instead of an undesired purpose. This question implicates incorrectly that a person without conscientious objections (in this domain) would pay in support of an undesired purpose. There is no evidence for that.

The equality principle is also an issue in the question of whether a general provision for conscientious objectors against all kinds of tax destinations has to be made. Why not the same provision for somebody who has conscientious objections against the financing of abortion? This will be discussed separately in one of the following chapters of this paper.[29]

5.1.5. Violation of the Principle that Everybody has to Contribute to the Defence of the Country

The sections 97 to 99 of the Dutch constitution are of relevance in this matter.

In section 97 paragraph 1 is prescribed that all Dutchmen capable of that, are obliged to cooperate to the maintenance of the independence of the Kingdom and to the defence of its territory.

Paragraph 2 of section 97 determines that this obligation can also be placed upon a resident who has not obtained Dutch citizenship.

Section 98, paragraph 1, determines that there are armed forces for the protection of the interests of the state consisting of volunteers and occasionally also of conscripts.[30]

Paragraph 2 of section 98 determines that the government has the supreme authority over the armed forces.

Paragraph 3 of section 98 determines that the law regulates the compulsory military service and also the obligations placed upon those who do not belong to the armed forces, with regard to the defence of the country.

Finally section 99 determines that the law regulates the conditions on which exemption to the military service can be given because of serious conscientious objections.

The Dutch Interchurch Contact in Government Affairs (C.i.O.)[31] has expressed in a letter of September 19 1983 to the secretary of the Dutch Council of Churches that in its view, looking at what is said in the Constitution about the defence and its budget (section 97 up to and including 99 and 102) it is not possible to demand that the legislator should make a legal provision as mentioned here. Section 102 of the Constitution will be discussed in the next chapter.

Boon[32] remarks in a letter d.d. September 25 1984 to the Dutch Council of Churches that at first sight section 97 is a counterargument against a provision for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money, but according to Boon the reply to this would be that in this situation people are involved who are not capable, because of insuperable conscientious objections, to cooperate.

In the sections 97 as far as 99 of the Dutch Constitution no interdiction can be found for the introduction of a provision for conscientious objections in this domain. The aforementioned sections of the constitution deal with armed forces, conscription and conscientious objections to military service. In these sections and also in the parliamentary history of section 99 nothing can be found to show that a provision for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money would be prohibited constitutionally.

In a letter d.d. November 8 1984[33] the C.i.O. states that whether such a provision for conscientious objections to defence tax is possible within the Dutch constitutional system or not, one can have different opinions, but the opinion of the C.i.O. is that there is no place for the proposed provision in the Dutch constitutional system.

The C.i.O. has objections against the proposed provision on systematical grounds, because it would be contrary to the system of the Constitution.

I mention that later the Council of State in its advice d.d. November 1 1989 as well as the political parties in the provisional report d.d. September 1993 did not use this counterargument at all. Both Council of State and parliament have an important duty in the Dutch constitutional system, where there is no constitutional court, to control that the laws of the country are in conformity with the constitution.

5.1.6. Violation of Section 102 of the Dutch Constitution

Section 102 paragraph 1 and 2 of the Constitution prescribes that the costs of the armed forces of the Kingdom are paid for from the Treasury of the Kingdom and that the billeting and maintenance of the soldiers, the costs of transport and other supplies with regard to the armed forces and defensive works of the Kingdom are only chargeable to one or more persons or municipalities in conformity with general regulations by law and on condition of compensation.

In paragraph 3 of that section is prescribed that exceptions of these general regulations in case of war, danger of war or other extraordinary circumstances are laid down in law.

The C.i.O.[34] states that a provision for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money could only be considered, when the armed forces are paid by means of a purpose levy, a specific defence tax, but that this is not possible because of the said section 102 of the Constitution, which section, in the opinion of the C.i.O forbids a specific defence tax.

Boon does not agree with this[35] and states that section 102 of the Constitution as far as it is relevant to this subject, only prescribes that all the costs of the armies of the Kingdom have to be paid from the Treasury of the Kingdom. Boon continues that the feeding of the Treasury of the Kingdom is another matter. He mentions that section 104 of the Constitution prescribes that the taxes of the Kingdom are levied in virtue of the law. Boon is of the opinion that there is no specific levy for Defence, but that this does not mean that the law cannot give accommodation to conscientious objections in this domain.

The intention of section 102 of the Constitution is that the general rule will be that a special obligation for others than the state, to finance the armed forces, is excluded. It is a constitutional regulation to emphasize the centralised state. The historical background of this is namely that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the successor of a loose confederation of sovereign provinces.[36]

5.2. Problems in the Domain of Conscientious Objection Law

5.2.1. Possibility of Existence of Conscientious Objection in the Domain of Taxes

It is not the taxpayer, but the government that is responsible for the policy, therefore conscientious objections cannot exist in this domain, this is often the conclusion.

As counterargument one can state that the government is responsible for the policy indeed, but is also responsible to the taxpayer, and that the taxpayer is in turn personally responsible according to the Nuremberg principles, part of the cogent features of international law. Each act which facilitates a crime against peace is a punishable offence according to international law. Who ever finances activities which make such acts possible is evidently an accomplice in the crime. Ultimately the citizen cannot be forced into complicity and carry out a crime against peace, not even by his own government by way of tax legislation, nor by any other person or body...

Here the arguments are heard and expressed in the discussion whether the use of nuclear weapons is allowed or not. Besides this it can be stated that in international law the personal individual liability has become recognised at least since the last 50 years. Orders are orders cannot always be used as a defence anymore in order to escape punishment.

Often the remark is heard that there are no connections between the tax contribution and the destination of it. There is no war tax. Everything is going into one treasury and is paid by the same. But this appears to be an abstraction because of course there is a relation between taxpaying to the general resources and the military expenditure paid from the same.

It is rather naive to deny any relationship between tax money and war. History shows that wars are always paid for by tax money.

And it does not matter whether the citizen pays a general or a specific contribution.

Is a taxpayer directly responsible when others, the legislator, gives a certain destination to the collected tax money?

Can one in view of the strict personal nature of conscientious objections, have such objections against the acts of others, in this case the acts of the government and the parliament?

In its advice d.d. November 1 1989 the Council of State [37] has considered the question whether between the moments of the personal act, namely the paying of an indivisible tax debt by the individual citizen to the state on the one hand, and the indirect participation in the political allocation of the tax money on the other hand are not situated too far from each other, that one can still qualify this last act as a personal act against which a person can have a conscientious objection.

The Council states that to consider whether a serious objection is a conscientious objection, it is of importance to see to what extent the act against which the objector objects has to be a personal activity of the objector. There is no doubt about this in the domain of the fulfilment of military service and the insurance against disease and accident, so far the Council of State.

In the already mentioned CDA-report[38] d.d. 1983 the authors are of the opinion that in this case it is not the question of conscientious objections against a certain budget item, it is just the question of insuperable conscientious objections against the payment of a part of the due tax, the objections are related to that budget item. As far as one has to pay that tax oneself, a personal act is required so that in principle the concept of conscientious objections is applicable. So far the CDA-report.

The introducers of the bill share this point of view,[39] they consider it clear that because part of the general resources is spent on defence, it can be said that in fact one contributes to military defence by paying tax. In that case somebody may have conscientious objections. They add to this that it can not be ignored that a serious problem of conscience may arise for individual citizens in this matter and in fact will continue to do so and that the purely technical-judicial difference between purpose levy and general taxes cannot be decisive for the judgement on the acceptability of the recognition of conscientious objections.

To this one could add that since the beginning of the Kingdom in 1813 the legislator has always spent money for defence, the cost of this is always paid for by the greater part from the tax revenue.

In this time it is totally contrary to what experience teaches us to start from the theoretical possibility that a legislator uses its freedom to spend no money on the military during a certain budget year.

It is more realistic to assume that the legislator will use tax money for military expenditure each year. The taxpayer can expect this governmental expenditure.

Starting from these experiences one can conclude that there is an individual act of the taxpayer, because paying of the taxes means a direct financial support to the military expenditure.

The introducer of the modified bill of 1992[40] states that it is not relevant which part of the total state expenditure the defence-expenditure is. The payment of the tax money has in common with the fulfilment of the military service that the individual citizen on grounds of law is obliged to do something himself, something of which its nature is clear with a view to the moral consideration.

The introducer of the modified bill d.d.1992 adds that the defence expenditure is not carried out by the conscientious objector himself but by the authorities and that therefore there is no direct responsibility for all separate expenditures, nor for the arrangement of the budget.

The introducer continues that in this matter a direct responsibility exists for the taxpayer and the individual citizen because the fact that the tax money paid by him will be spent partly on defence activities. The introducer of the bill states that it is not a very indirect hypothetical relation, but a very practical and direct relationship, which was very clear with regard to the nuclear energy development levy, but the introducer argues that military expenditure is no less specific than the compulsory financial contribution to the development of nuclear energy, so that both these affairs would have to be considered in a different way. So far the introducer of the bill.

A direct action is not a necessary condition to speak about conscientious objections. Conscientious objections can occur everywhere where a personal responsibility exists, so also with regard to acting indirectly, the notion participation and complicity in penal law is an example for that.

The MPs of the CDA[41] mention according to the report d.d. September 24 1993 that the Council of State considers it very important to know how far the conscientious objections affect a direct individual action, the Council of State questions whether the distance between the direct act of the individual and the payment of an indivisible tax debt is not too large. These MPs consider how far the payment to a peace fund will be felt as the expression of conscientious objections, when this means that other taxpayers will pay the part which the conscientious objectors refuse to pay.

The MPs of the PvdA[42] are of the opinion which is backed by the advice of the Council of State, that the bill does not make clear that with regard to taxpaying an objection can exist which can be considered as conscientious objections. In their view in the case of the payment of a tax debt by an individual citizen to society and the indirect act in the political allocation of tax money, there is no personal act against which a person can have conscientious objections, and they consider this the core of the existing legislation with respect to conscientious objections and the ideas behind it.

The MPs of the VVD[43] remark that they can imagine that certain citizens consider it morally wrong that they have to be active in some way by giving a substantial contribution to the military machinery. However they state the destination of the payment of taxes upon which an elected parliament decides cannot be considered as an active substantial contribution as mentioned before.

The MPs of the SGP[44] asked whether the bill exceeds the bounds of recognition of conscientious objections. They state that the question is, whether the objection against the military destination of tax money has to be considered as conscientious objection and if so, whether such an objection can be treated in the same way as other conscientious objections already recognised by the authorities.

The MPs of the SGP are of the opinion that there is at least a gradual difference between a conscientious objection against military service and a conscientious objection against the payment of taxes to the general resources from which the defence is also paid. They consider a physical contribution a more radical interference in the private atmosphere than the payment of a contribution to the general resources even when the defence expenditure is financed from these resources.

The MPs of the SGP ask the introducer of the bill whether he is also of the opinion that with respect to a conscientious objection a direct relation between the objection on the one hand and the object against which the objection is directed on the other hand, is necessary. They state that such a relation was present in the specific levy for the nuclear energy development, whereas the taxes flow in the general resources. So far the MPs of the SGP.

The MPs of the GPV as we already have seen in chapter 4.5. presume that a proper examination in the domain of this bill is not possible because in reality you cannot distinguish here between political and conscientious objections. They state that a person objects to the use of violence by the Dutch authorities and he prefers the collective resources be used for peace research and development cooperation above military expenditure.

According to the MPs of the GPV these are quite clear political considerations. These MPs suggest that a person by paying for the general, collective resources is not obliged to act personally in support of the activities against which, one has the conscientious objections.

If somebody has really serious objections, then he has also to object against the payment of indirect taxes, they think. They ask how the objectors can live with the fact that in a lot of ways one has to pay for the general resources out of which the armed forces are also paid. These MPs state that the provision is only made for a number of taxes. They ask therefore whether the conclusion has to be that the seriousness of the objections is less than one may expect and whether the proposed provision is only for pacifying one's conscience, not for a real exemption. So far these MPs of the GPV.

In the IKV-study meeting d.d. March 23 1991[45] Vermeulen doubted whether the bill is a real provision for conscientious objections. He states that the defence budget will not be changed and the conscientious objector contributes to the military expenditure for that part of his tax money which does not flow to the Peace Fund. This because in his opinion the distinction between the tax money destined for military expenditure and tax money destined for another is arbitrary, everything flows to one treasury, the general resources, and everything, including defence, is paid from there.

Vermeulen doubts whether the persons who present themselves as conscientious objectors really have conscientious objections, because the only thing they have to do is apply for the provision, because no extra effort has to be made which would give some certainty about the supposed presence of conscientious objections, the more because the objections are quite far-fetched. Vermeulen states that the objections are not against a personal act, not even against an earmarked levy, as is the case with insurances premiums, but against the enabling of financing someone else's military activities, which moreover will not result in diminution of the financing of those activities.

Kossen[46] states on the aforementioned study meeting of the IKV March 23 1991 that these conscientious objections concern the matter of the relationship between the human being and the money that he uses. He points out that money has become important in society to facilitate the exchange of goods, so that the role of money in this process is ‘the general equivalent’.

Kossen explains that people sold the goods produced by themselves or offered services for money in order to be able to buy goods or other services and that the presumption of these exchanges was, that a human being had a right to and was responsible for what he produced or offered as a service, and that one therefore had a right to and was responsible for the money, which he earned by the sale of these goods and services.

Kossen points out that in the capitalist economy money also received another function, that money was used to make other people produce for oneself or to capacitate other people to employ other people to work for them. In the first case somebody is an entrepreneur himself, whereas in the second case somebody brings his money to a savings bank or buys stocks.

Kossen mentions that all these activities make economical sense, only when one expects them to be profitable, so that you can make more money than you invested.

Kossen states that the current idea is that the entrepreneur, the saver, the investor has the right to that extra money. He points out that the responsibility for this use of money is an even more complicated matter, especially when somebody brings his money to the savings bank or buys stocks, because what happens with this money is often invisible for the savers and investors.

Kossen mentions that therefore the state of mind not to lose oneself in this, is widely spread, as is the attitude to look only, for a return as high as possible under the motto money does not stink. Kossen states that resistance against this mentality is growing, he gives the example of members of denominations who experienced problems at once with the fact that their churches have shares in the arms industry, they discovered that money can stink.

Kossen mentions that these people did not want to be responsible for the use of that money and that this example can be multiplied and expresses the conviction that one cannot run away from the responsibility of using money in this way. Justice, peace and the integrity of the creation are at stake, is the opinion of Kossen.

Kossen concludes that one is also responsible for the use of one's own money and therefore is also responsible for the payment of tax money to the state, from which for instance military expenditure is paid.

Kossen mentions that the necessity for a provision for conscientious objections in this domain is rejected by people who reason that conscientious objections do not exist here, that there is no defence tax formally, that all the collected tax money flows into the state treasury and that a parliament decides the destination of that tax money, that it is therefore the responsibility of the parliament and not the responsibility of the citizens to decide which part of the tax money will be destined for defence.

Kossen mentions that these people conclude that one cannot speak about conscientious objections in this domain because one cannot have conscientious objections against acts for which one is not responsible.

Kossen states that the reply to this is, that every taxpayer by paying taxes in fact contributes to the financing of the defence activities and can therefore consider himself responsible, because it is undeniable that part of the tax money is used for defence expenditure.

Kossen concludes that on this ground it can be rightly stated that real, conscientious objections exist and that this notion gets more and more recognition.

In the memorandum of Pax Christi [47] Van Iersel mentions that conscientious objections with respect to the tax destination are considered the preponderant, moral objections regarding the military expenditure of tax money, that the strive to this purposes with the help of the tax money of the said citizen is considered by this citizen as a violation of his integrity.

Van Iersel considers the question whether conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money can exist as not a question of definition.

He considers the introduction of a provision for conscientious objections in this domain as a differentiation of the tax system, not as a violation of the tax system and the security policy, only as an exceptive clause.

Van Iersel states that contrary to the military service there is no direct relation between the act, the payment of tax, in the one hand and the military destination on the other hand, and that the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act is wrongly considered as a precedent.

Van Iersel points out that in the case of the military service there is a direct relation between the joining of the armed forces and the morally prohibited type of acts, the killing, on which grounds the conscript can rightly involve the interdiction to kill somebody in connection with an act which has to be done by him personally.

Van Iersel states that the legitimate authorities in a representative democracy have an intermediary role between the payment of taxes on the one hand and the military destination of tax money on the other hand. Van Iersel concludes from this that in the case of the payment of taxes the situation of military conscripts for whom the conscientious objections to military service act is applicable, cannot be considered as a precedent for a possible legal provision for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money.

Van Iersel further states that he agrees with the explanatory memorandum of the bill proposed to parliament that there could be a duty against which somebody can have conscientious objections, when one also considers the other regulations for conscientious objections in the domain of taxes, levies and social insurances.

Van Iersel concludes that the relation between the payment of taxes on the one hand and killing on the other hand is more indirect than the relation between the fulfilment of military service and killing.

The advice of the second IKV-committee[48] on this subject is that in the domain of conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money there is a personal act and a personal responsibility of the objector, so that there can be conscientious objections.

The committee considers that where the authorities are used to military spending from the general resources each year, the payment of taxes have in common with the military service, that the individual citizens are obliged by virtue of public law to perform a personal act, quite clearly for moral consideration, so that conscientious objections can occur.

The committee considers further that the counterargument that the taxpayer does not decide himself about the military destination of the military expenditure, is not valid, because the taxpayer finances it and the situation is in some way comparable with the criminal law notion of complicity: one can be an accomplice to a punishable offence without performing the punishable offence himself.

In connection with this the committee mentions a development in society, namely that members of denominations, contributors to retirement funds etcetera want to control whether investments by churches, funds etcetera are compatible with standards of non-violence, justice and ecological responsibility. The committee concludes that in this domain people rightly take their responsibility more seriously than before because the acts carried out with their money and partly done on their behalf by others.

Van Eyck[49] states that the character of conscientious objections needs special consideration, because these conscientious objections appear to be a substitute conscience.

He mentions that these conscientious objections do not concern the expenditure of the taxpayer himself, but the destination of state money for which destination he is indirectly responsible.

He mentions on the one hand D. Brüll, a tax official, who replies to this that he does not want to be forced to accept the excuse for himself that he is only responsible for the levying of taxes and the government for the expenditure. According to Brüll real conscience is to consider oneself and another co-responsible for what is done by others.

Van Eyck mentions on the other hand that Hofstra who stated that the transfer of resistance against certain government expenditure to the tax domain is based on a lack of discernment with regard to the existing constitutional structure and that therefore the comparison to conscientious objections to the military service is not valid. In the view of Hofstra this would be different, if the defence expenditure was paid from a purpose levy.

5.2.2. The Necessity of Examination

Has an examination to be part of the provision concerned and if so, has this examination to be an extensive one or a simple one?

Van Eyck[50] states that it is difficult to judge how far political objections can be considered as conscientious objections. He is of the opinion that a person cannot decide on the tax form for which expenditure his tax money will be destined.

He considers that if this is the case, then when the cat is away the mice will play and to prevent this it is necessary that a sort of examination to control the seriousness of the conscientious objections should be adopted by the bill.

The MPs of the GPV[51] mention that the introducer of the bill wants a clear distinction between the very personal conscientious objections and political psychological or social considerations.

The MPs of the GPV agreed to that but they remarked that the introducer of the bill does not adopt an examination, a control whether there are really conscientious objections instead of political objections. The MPs of the GPV do not understand why the introducer of the bill does not want to have such a control, they consider the fact that the objector will not have a positional advantage, can hardly be considered a valid counterargument.

The MPs of the GPV presume that a good control is not possible here, because in practice one cannot distinguish between political and conscientious objections.

In the study meeting of the IKV on March 23 1991 Vermeulen stated that it is very doubtful whether the persons who present themselves as conscientious objectors really have such objections[52] because no extra effort is required from them which could give some certainty about the seriousness of the presumed objections. Vermeulen is an advocate of an extra effort like an alternative duty, instead of an examination.[53

In the Pax Christi memorandum Van Iersel[54] recommends to adopt in the proposed bill the forming of a committee which has to examine the conscientious objections in the same way as the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act.

Van Iersel mentions that the introducers of the bill in the version of 1989 did not propose such an examination, because of the bad quality of the examination procedure according to the Conscientious Objections to Military Service act. Van Iersel considers this a weak argument, because it is not a reason to avoid examination but a reason to ameliorate the examination procedure.

Van Iersel is of the opinion that perhaps a verification procedure as is already adopted in the provisions for conscientious objections in the domain of the social insurances is sufficient, namely then when the mentioned provisions are considered as precedent and not the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act, and according to Van Iersel there is good reason for considering it in that way, because of the different nature of the acts.

Van Iersel states that Pax Christi considers an examination of the conscientious objections as very important in view on the collective character of the security and on the interest of the public character of the policy and the decision making with regard to that.

Van Iersel states that to form an examination committee is perhaps necessary to prevent the abuse of the provision for unintended purposes and also as a discouragement for the undesired creation of a precedent.

Van Iersel further argues that when the examination of conscientious objections does not work well, this has to be a reason to look at the functioning of the examination and at the organisation of it, rather than to marginalize the moral factor in the judgement and the public aspect of the act of refusal by making that refusal an administrative affair.

Van Iersel states further that a problem with respect to conscientious objections is and will be that as far as their validity and weight they can only be fixed and tested by the judging subject himself and that the real heart of the matter with regard to this legal provision is therefore the measure of ethic diversity of the democratic Rule of Law State and religious tolerance in our society.

Because ethic diversity and religious tolerance are basic values of our society, Van Iersel advises a legal provision for conscientious objectors against the military destination of tax money, but in his opinion the introduction of a legal provision would have to be accompanied with a threshold heightening, such as an examination procedure, to discourage the violation of the basis of the security policy, by way of this exception clause and because of the possible creation of a precedent.

According to Van Iersel the examination procedure would not test the contents of the objection as such, but the carefulness of the realisation of these conscientious objections, the quality of the moral argumentation and the willingness to do something publicly for the recognition of conscientious objection with regard to a collective good about which the policy is realised democratically.

The second IKV-committee[55] mentions that the Council of State in its advice d.d. November 1 1989 considers that a creation of an unlimited precedent is increased because of the fact that there has not been an examination procedure proposed in the bill.

The committee states that accommodation has been given to this by adopting an examination procedure in the bill, a verification procedure as in the domain of the social insurances acts.

The committee mentions that according to the provision in the domain of the social insurances acts conscientious objectors have to declare that they are not insured and that they ask for exemption of the payment of the premium, that such an exemption will be given when the authorities have inquired whether this declaration conforms to the truth.

The committee considers that this examination has a passive character, the starting point is the presumption that the applicant gives correct information and that by way of random testing personal talks will take place.

The committee states that the introducers are of the opinion that according to the Council of State, adopting this type of examination in the bill, there would not be a creation of a precedent, this is contrary to the original regulation without a means of control. The committee agrees with that opinion.

5.3. Political Problems

5.3.1. The Dirigibility of the State

This problem is often seen in relation to the problem of the creation of a precedent.

Would the dirigibility of the country be disturbed when allowances are made for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money? Are the decisions of the legislator then thwarted?

As already stated in the explanatory memorandum d.d. 1989[56] the object that the legislator has set out to achieve by introducing a certain regulation may never be frustrated by a provision for conscientious objections.

When the legislator's aim is to protect fundamental legal values such as public health or peace and security, he will in recognising conscientious objectors choose ways that will not endanger the legal values.

In the bill a quite simple procedure is provided for with respect to the payments into the Peace Fund, with reference to the advice of the Council of State this is further simplified. The state will not become unmanageable

The introducers of the bill have carefully respected the freedom of the legislator in deciding about the destination of the resources for certain legal values which the legislator considers necessary.

There is no relation between the Peace Fund and the Defence budget, in the sense, that the Defence budget will be diminished with the same amount as the amount paid to the Peace Fund.

There is no frustration of the purpose of tax collecting. In the first place all taxes are levied. In the second place it concerns a small percentage of the state budget and in the third place the number of persons who will apply for the concerned provision will be small, is the reasonable expectation.

The experiences with existing legal provisions have given little reason for worry. Theoretically it was imaginable of course that so many conscripts would apply for the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act that the number of conscripts would go down below the minimum which the government considers acceptable[57] and that therefore the functioning of the armed forces could be endangered. Rightly the legislator in 1923 considered this possibility as purely theoretical.[58]

In view of the number of people expected to apply for the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill it can be admitted that the destination of the finances of the state will not be seriously impeded.

The consequences of the proposed provision are no more unpredictable than other tax provisions, for instance with regard to deductibilities Such a small measure of unpredictability cannot be considered as a violation of the dirigibility of the country.

In the tax system many exceptions and loopholes exist, the more affluent people take advantage of that with the help of all kind of financial experts, without making the tax system unmanageable. It can be assumed that the establishment of a Peace Fund will not make the tax system unmanageable either.

The MPs of the SGP[59] consider a general legal provision for conscientious objections against tax destinations as undesired, because such a provision can easily lead to an administrative chaos. In their opinion the interest of the State would be damaged disproportionately by the general recognition of conscientious objections against tax destinations.

The MPs of the GPV[60] consider the power of the sword as the most essential instrument of the authorities and for this reason they consider it very far-reaching to propose a provision which implies that citizens obtain the possibility to withhold to the authorities this use of the power of the sword. In their opinion this could lead ultimately to the destruction of this instrument. In the light of this the MPs of the GPV consider the bill as potentially a big threat for the authorities.

5.3.2. The Creating of a Precedent (The Floodgates Argument)

When conscientious objections against the military destinations of tax money are recognised, then everybody can refuse to pay taxes with regard to certain destinations, for instance education, health, the care of the elderly, the housing of refugees and aid to developing countries, the aid to the disabled. The tax system would not work anymore.

This type of argument is dictated by fear and fear is not a good starting point in politics. Fear can never be a criterium for judgement of a conscientious objection and for non recognition of such an objection.

The argument is not true either, because it does not distinguish between political objections on the one hand and conscientious objections on the other hand.

The legislator will never accept such an individualistic tax refusal on purely political ground, because it would undermine the solidarity in the society.

Is the accommodation to conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money the creation of a precedent? And if so, what are the consequences?

The introducers of the bill[61] have given a lot of consideration to this question. Both the CiO[62] and the Roman Catholic bishops[63] are of the opinion that, if accommodation to conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money would be given, this would set a precedent for people with conscientious objections against many other destinations.

The already mentioned CDA-report ‘Gewetensbezwaren vragen aandacht’ (Conscientious objections attract attention) d.d. 1983[64] considers also that a possible provision for conscientious objections against some tax destinations creates a precedent with regard to conscientious objections against other tax destinations.

The introducers of the bill[65] agree that there can be conscientious objections to other differing tax destinations.

The Council of State[66] is of the opinion that the bill in principle opens the door for each conscientious objector to any other budget item, he will ask the same recognition. According to the Council of State it will then be difficult to refuse such recognition.

The introducer of the bill[67] replies that every provision for conscientious objections needs a specific regulation, especially in view of the necessary alternative duty, which will be different in each different provision.

The introducer states that conscientious objections to the military destinations of tax money bill provides for payment to a Peace Fund, in another provision another alternative duty will be included and that moreover with regard to war and war preparation conscientious objections have been known a long time, which have led to the provision with respect to conscientious objections against the military service. The introducer mentions therefore that in some sense there is a precedent, but from the point of view of the conscientious objector it does not matter whether the objection is on a very important matter such as war violence or another legal duty.

The introducer states that, without detracting from other conscientious objections, which are not recognised yet, that the conscientious objections concerned have a special significance due to the circumstance that the right to life is involved protected inter alia in section 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms[68] and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,[69] generally considered as the most fundamental of human rights.

Generally provisions for accommodation for conscientious objectors will always set a precedent. There is only an unlimited precedent when the legislator is obliged to make a provision for accommodation to conscientious objections each time somebody asks for it. Such an obligation does not exist.

It is a contradiction to state on the one hand that the provisions for conscientious objections in the domain of the military service and the social insurances do not create a precedent for the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill and to state on the other hand that the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill will create an enormous precedent.

In general the political parties consider that the provision will set a precedent and they consider that very important.

The MPs of the CDA[70] ask whether the proposed provision will set a large precedent.

The MPs of the PvdA[71] consider that the introducers of the bill did not give enough attention with regard to the creation of a precedent, because conscientious objections can also occur with regard to other tax destinations.

The MPs of the VVD[72] remark that there are a lot of budget items which are rejected by some people on moral grounds. These MPs are afraid that this bill will create an enormous precedent.

The MPs of GroenLinks (Green Left Party)[73] are of the opinion that the precedent problem needs further explanation. They point out that military activities nowadays are not only paid for from the defence budget, but that for instance peace keeping operations are partly paid for from the budget for development cooperation.

An accommodation with regard to the defence budget would of course set a precedent regarding other defence related budgets.

During the discussion of the study meeting of the IKV on March 23 1991[74] it was stated that the bill undoubtedly would create a precedent and that the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act had already set a precedent.

Stelling stated that there can be so many groups in society who object to certain budget items that the State has to draw the line somewhere. He points out that when too many people apply for the provision the defence task can be endangered. He states that such has happened with the Conscientious Objections for Military Service Act.[75]

Kossen stated in the aforementioned discussion that the policy against which the conscientious objections occur can not been violated by the provision for accommodation to the objections. He continues that the State is not a monolith, but is dynamic and dependent on balances and developments of power. Kossen considers that when the Peace Fund would grow very fast, this could also be translated to the electoral process and after that to another peace and security policy.

Van Iersel in the Pax Christi memorandum[76] considers the creation of a precedent an object of appreciating the values concerned. One can consider that there is no undermining of the legal system and that it is a sign of strength of the Rule of Law State to be tolerant towards minorities.

The problem with the creation of a precedent is that it aids towards objections to other tax destinations (budget items), not only affecting other departments (budget chapters for example military activities paid by other departments), but also affecting other taxes.

Hanna[77] points out that the main objection has to be, if a Peace Tax Fund was established for income tax, other taxes would have an extremely strong case for recognition.

He states that clearly it would be impossible to envisage a practical system of taxation whereby a certain percentage of Value Added Tax, for example, was diverted to peaceful purposes.

He continues that if income tax was granted such a privilege by both the domestic courts and the European Court of Human rights, it would be possible to deal with the floodgates under article 9 paragraph 2 and that a state could rightly insist that the qualifying statement whereby restrictions had to be necessary in a democratic society could apply on the basis of administrability of the tax system and any question of proportionality would not be halted by former Government practice.

Hanna asked whether, if a right to divert taxes is granted, every other individual who has a conscientious objection to an activity for which taxes are collected, does not have then a similar right.

He states that some would argue that it does and that war tax resisters have argued in simple terms that having a conscientious objection to war or war preparations or paying for war is in a higher and therefore special moral category.

He asks whether this is really true. He states that Dignan[78] contrasts the case of a welfare tax resister who thinks that the welfare state saps initiative and enterprise with the war tax resister. It was argued that there was no competing right that could override the war tax resister's claim, that however in contrast the welfare tax resister had to cope with those who required a minimum level of provision which may make it possible for him to realise his potential as a human being and it was submitted that this weighs rather heavily in the scales against another's belief that he ought to provide for himself.

Hanna states that for Dworkin[79] the welfare tax register has only a weak right, whereby he is entitled to break the law but that nevertheless the state is justified in coercing him to contribute, that unlike the case of the war tax register, welfare tax resistance does not stem from the ultimate moral principle of universal claim for respect by individuals, that instead the latter instance, the main arguments are founded upon considerations of utility and although considerations of fairness are evident in both, it is more firmly rooted in the case of the war tax resister.

Hanna states that Dignan maintains that the seriousness of the personal invasion involved in the case of war taxes is far greater than its counterpart (the welfare tax resister) and that since the two cases are qualitatively different, he concludes that it simply does not follow that because the war tax protester's right to divert part of his taxes is recognised, all manner of other tax campaigns will likewise be justified.

Hanna states that a more coherent and practical approach to the floodgates problem has been advanced by war tax resisters, that in essence, the main thrust of their argument is that no other group can assert a moral abhorrence to paying taxes for an entire head of expenditure, that instead others only object to specific elements of these categories.

Hanna asks whether this does really solve the problem. He mentions that it is feasible for someone to object to all forms of expenditure of the National Health Service because they are a member of B.U.P.A. (Britisch United Provident Association - private health care in the UK).

5.3.3. The Necessity of a General Regulation

Kruithof[80] claims a special, more important, position for conscientious objections against defence tax.

Is it right to propose a specific provision only for conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money, or would it be better when a general provision for conscientious objections to all kinds of tax destinations would be proposed?

The CiO,[81] the Roman Catholic bishops,[82] the already mentioned correspondents d.d. 1983 and 1984[83] and the CDA-report d.d. 1983[84] consider that when a provision for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money would be made, then it would be necessary to make such a provision for conscientious objectors to other tax destinations also. The CDA-report considers this necessary not as an insurmountable objection against such a provision.

G.J.M. Jacobs has proposed a general provision[85] this provision will be subject in a later subchapter.

The introducers of the bill did not propose such a general provision because a provision for conscientious objections in the domain of the social insurances and the military service have been created after a lot of people asked for such a regulation and the same is now the case in the domain of the conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money. They are of the opinion that in other domains people only asked incidentally for a provision, they realised that this can change, but they consider this not enough reason to propose a general provision.

The Council of State in its advice d.d. November 1 1989[86] considers that when a regulation would have to be made for conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money, the provision has to be of a more general character.

The Minister of Finance, Ruding, stated in August 1989, that in the discussion of the bill a more general approach is necessary.[87]

The political parties[88] consider a more general approach necessary, only the MPs of the GroenLinks Party do not consider that necessary.

The MPs of the SGP ask whether the introducer of the bill has other reasons then of political expedience to propose only a specific provision, whether the introducer considers the conscientious objections to the military destinations of tax money more serious then conscientious objections to other tax destinations.

The MPs of the GPV considered the position of the conscientious objections to the payment for abortion, which is paid for partly from a public fund.[89] They point out that the premium for this special fund is collected in the same way as taxes are collected. The MPs of the GPV ask whether recognition of conscientious objection against the one tax destination means that also the conscientious objections against the other tax destination have to be recognised.

Vermeulen[90] considers also the difference made by the introducers of the bill between the conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money and the conscientious objections to the payment for abortion. He asks whether there is no provision proposed for the last mentioned group and whether the conscientious objection to the military destination of tax money is better, more pure and who has to decide about that?

Van Iersel in the Pax Christi memorandum,[91] considers the problem whether a general provision has to be made for reasons of administrative anticipation to the creation of a precedent, depends on the way of legislation. The fact that no a general provision is made or not yet made can make clear that the Rule of Law State wants to make arrangements with separate groups occasionally for the furtherance of the tranquillity of the concerned groups.

5.3.4. The Actuality of the Bill

Is in view of the fact that the armed forces have to be active now in the framework of section 90 of the Constitution, the furtherance of the international legal order, no reason to modify the opinion on this issue?

This question is especially asked in the parliamentary report.[92]

The MPs of the CDA state that they like to be informed about the opinion of the introducer concerning to the tasks of the armed forces with regard to military and humanitarian aid. They mention that since the bill was introduced in 1989 there have been developments with regard to the deployment of the armed forces, that in areas as Iraq, Cambodia and Yugoslavia the armed forces were and are participating in different peace and humanitarian operations, that the task of the armed forces is at this moment to be prepared for peace operations and humanitarian aid.

The MPs of the CDA ask therefore the opinion of the introducer of the bill about the desirability of the participation in such operations. They state that the facilities for participation to peace and humanitarian operations are available, because armed forces exist and that the complete armed forces are involved in this. The MPs of the CDA ask the introducer how he considers the relation between these tasks of the armed forces and the mentioned conscientious objections to be.

The MPs of the CDA consider that the resources of the Peace Fund could be made available inter alia to development cooperation. They ask the introducer whether defence is not achieving a lot in this domain and whether there is in reality not a relation between development cooperation and defence.

The MPs of the CDA ask whether this bill and also the CDA-report d.d. 1983 have lost topicality, because the introducer of the bill considers that in relation to the task of the armed forces only section 98 of the Constitution applies which mentions that there are armed forces to protect the interests of the State.

The MPs of the PvdA remarked that the argumentation, on which this bill is based, is overtaken by the dramatical international developments of the past few years and the renewal of the tasks of the Dutch armed forces. These MPs are of the opinion that the mentioned restructuring of the Dutch armed forces would necessitate a reconsidering of the bill, that is to say a withdrawal of the bill.

A number of MPs of the Green Left Party had doubts about the topical value of the bill, because the international developments have been so revolutionary over the past years. In their opinion the end of the Cold War justifies another approach of the Dutch armed forces and they consider that this has also consequences with regard to the problem of the insuperable conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money.

A number of MPs of that party are of the opinion that the bill concerned has to be placed within the framework of the Cold War and that therefore there is too much emphasis on the one-sided task of the armed forces. They consider that now one of the most important tasks of the Dutch armed forces is preventive peace keeping within the framework of the United Nations, in which a nonviolent conflict resolution plays an important part. These MPs state that the difference between development cooperation and defence has become rather vague.

These MPs also asked whether there is still support in society for the bill, how many people still have conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money?

The MPs of the GPV asked whether the international developments of the last four years did not lead to a diminution of the need for such a provision. They state that the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Dutch and NATO military machinery is no longer probable and even the Green Left Party does not prohibit the use of violence under all circumstances. The MPs of the GPV state that at the time of the introduction of the bill the introducers spoke about thousands of taxpayers who had expressed their conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money. These MPs ask whether they can suppose that this number has been diminished.

Van Iersel in the Pax Christi memorandum[93] states that the strive for war tax refusal is part of the already older tradition of radical pacifism and partly the result of the discussion within Dutch politics and society since 1976/77 about nuclear deterrence.

5.3.5. The Policy of Deregulation

The Council of State[94] and the VVD[95] consider this. The policy of deregulation is the strive to restrict the enormous number of regulations and acts, so that it becomes easier for the citizen to act in conformity with the law and so that he can have the freedom he needs to have, especially in the economic domain.

It will be clear that the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill, if passed, will be an addition to the already existing number of laws.

The Bill could be considered as a refinement of the legal order, but the bill is contrary to the policy of deregulation on the one hand, because it means an extra regulation, on the other hand the bill is in conformity with the policy of deregulation because it gives the citizen undoubtedly more freedom.

In the modified explanatory memorandum[96] MP Beckers-de Bruijn states that a legal provision leads inevitably to certain complications of the existing legislation and that this also leads to the need to make some practical regulations and that this is surely the case in such a vital point of the state system, namely the collecting of taxes.

MP Beckers-de Bruijn states that she has tried to make the accommodation for conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money as simple and clear as possible, that inter alia, for this reason a simple form of examination procedure is proposed, comparable with the verification procedure in the domain of conscientious objections against the social insurances.

MP Beckers-de Bruijn states that it has to be considered that at least an important part of the taxpayers who are now involved in all sorts of taxation lawsuits because of their tax refusal, will apply for the provision, so that therefore the work burden of the internal revenue service and the courts will diminish in some way.

5.3.6. The Symbolic Character of the Bill

It is said that the conscientious objectors to the military destination of tax money indulge in illusions about a Peace Fund, because the military expenditure will not be diminished, for the government and the parliament remain in charge of how much will be spent on military defence.

A counterargument to this is the argument that conscientious objectors to military service are then also indulging in illusions about their alternative service, because the alternative service did not diminish the war activities. Government and parliament decide how large the armed forces will be. And yet there are Conscientious Objections to (physical) Military Service Act.

A reduction of the number of army personnel and of the military expenditure cannot be demanded from parliament on grounds of the individual conscience.

The parliamentary majority has ultimately, within the limits of the legal system, the right of decision in politics. But the majority has to further the freedom of conscience and recognise conscientious objections where possible and consider such a recognition as a refinement.

Vermeulen[97] considers, as mentioned earlier, that the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill is a strange provision.

He states that the consequence of this bill is, that certain activities will be financed with a certain amount (Peace Fund), which amount will be diminished from other expenditure, because some people are said to have conscientious objections to defence (tax), whereas this never is of any consequence for the defence budget.

He asks why the legislator would accept that a new budget item of an unpredictable quantity will be created, which the legislator would not have created otherwise, because it considers the activity concerned, standing by itself, not worth while to finance.

Vermeulen considers that the defence budget remains unimpaired and that the expenditure of the Peace Fund will be compensated by diminutions elsewhere, the so called substitution effect.

He states that the substitution effect weakens the bill, that when there is a complete compensating substitution, the end result will be the same as without the bill, except that now a Peace Fund is fed, at the cost of the financing of other activities, which Peace Fund the legislator would never have financed otherwise.

Vermeulen states that it could be replied to in this manner that in this way a number of people can act according to their conscience, but that it is questionable whether this is important enough.

He states that the defence budget will not be changed, the conscientious objector pays for defence with the remaining money which is not paid to the Peace Fund, because the distinction between the tax money which is paid into the Peace Fund and the money not paid into the Peace Fund is arbitrary, everything flows in one big pot, the general resources and everything, also Defence, is paid from this pot.

Van Eyck[98] considers that the legislator of the budget can always increase the defence budget, that against such a transfer again conscientious objections can occur, and in doing so creating a vicious circle.

The introducers[99] of the bill consider that every imaginable concept in which the substitution effect would be excluded would inevitably imply a violation of the budget right, whereas they wish to respect this right.

The introducers state that the citizen with conscientious objections can never be assured that they would achieve a real shift in the government expenditure.

They state that it is on the other hand clear and also explicitly the intention of their bill, that expenditures which received no consideration for government support before, at least not in the same measure, will be financed from the Peace Fund.

They are of the opinion that moreover the quantity of the amount that is paid yearly into the Peace Fund is a political signal, not to be disregarded, that can also play a part in parliamentary discussions about the budgets of Defence and Development aid and in the discussions about the budget of the Kingdom in general.

The introducers of the bill considered that just accommodation is thus given to those conscientious objectors who consider an exclusively symbolic-expressive meaning of the exemption to be insufficient.

5.3.7. The Permissive Character of the Bill

Of course the conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money bill has a permissive character in the sense that the state gives accommodation to these conscientious objections.

The same objections as total objectors have to the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act can be heard with regard to this bill.

To accommodate to conscientious objections can further legitimise the fact that the state gives a destination of human and financial resources for all kinds of military activities.

Because the Defence budget will not be diminished, the only effect of the bill will be that conscientious objections are respected, but the world will not be more peaceful.

Biewenga[100] states that if you are of the opinion that one ought not to pay for activities which threaten freedom and security and that a grass root movement is necessary and inter alia publicity therefore, then a legal provision under which defence remains unimpaired and which does not change the structures of society has not to be accepted.

Van Iersel in the Pax Christi memorandum states[101] that an objection to the bill could perhaps be that the political problems, the military activities, will be turned into individual problems.

He mentions that the authorities can accommodate in this way to opposition against a policy without changing the policy against which the resistance exists, this leads to a weakening of the opposition.

He states that for opponents of the defence policy a legal provision can never be sufficient, because the discussion has to be about the policy with regard to peace and security, that a provision as proposed will turn the burden of political proof from the state to the citizen, that it is not the state which has to prove the rightfulness of the defence policy, but the citizen who has to prove the violation of his integrity.

Van Iersel states that this objection against the proposal is stronger for these who deny the legitimate existence of states or deny their monopoly of the use of violence.

As already said in the introduction of this paper a legal provision for conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money is not a contribution to peace in itself, at least not to the reduction of war efforts or to the non violent resolution of conflicts.

One can only say that it would be a very modest step in the direction of the realisation of a culture of non violence, because the implementation of a human right is involved.

The bill would not alter the fact that opponents to the current defence policy need to work actively to decrease the military budget.

Rodota[102] states that from the social and institutional point of view, a provision for conscientious objections identifies a technique for resolving conflicts which is quite different from that of compromise.

Rodota states that Hans Kelsen points to compromise as one of the characteristics of democratic systems, identifying it as a means of resolution mediating a provision which neither completely conforms to one part's interests nor is totally opposed to the interests of the other parts.

Rodota states that the limits of compromise as a recourse have been clearly demonstrated when the futility of the efforts of whoever seeks communality in diversity are underlined.

He states that this characterizes rather precisely the situations in which there is the recourse of conscientious objection, that we are facing a nonmodular diversity and each of the parts is considered to be non-negotiable and therefore renders impossible every form of compromise.

Rodota concludes that through the use of conscientious objections the conflict may be overcome without compromise while respecting the different positions maintained and in no way attributing superiority to them. He considers in this way that conscientious objection take shape as an indispensable technique for a pluralistic society.

5.4.Organisational Problems

5.4.1. Cogent Reasons for a Separate Budget Fund

The Council of State in its advice d.d. November 1 1989 doubts the urgency for the establishment of a separate budget fund.[103]

The introducer of the bill is convinced that there are cogent reasons as mentioned in the explanatory memorandum of the Accountability Act 1976.[104]

The introducer states that government has to take the conscientious objections concerned seriously and that this justifies the establishment of a separate budget fund.[105]

The introducers do not mention that they have considered other solutions than the establishment of a separate budget fund or that they have concluded that to make an otherwise appropriate bill was not possible.

5.4.2. The Financial Consequences of the Bill

The introducers[106] of the bill mention that it is true that with the knowledge of earlier budgets a reasonably reliable prognosis can be made for the future budget, but that security on this matter never exists.

They state that during the process of giving the budget-law, it is not taken into consideration which part of the income through taxes will be used to finance a certain budget item.

They state that consideration is given to how much the tax revenue is expected to be, how much the financing-deficit will be, and how much therefore has to be borrowed on the capital market.

They mention that possible proposals coming from parliament, consisting of changes in the budget that include increasing the costs, make it necessary to find ways of financing these additional expenditures.

They point out that, considering the system of the government budget, it cannot be stated that a certain percentage of a certain tax goes to the defence.

The introducers mention that fixing the percentage as has been done in their proposal, stems from the idea that the conscientious objections are directed to that part of the expenditure of the Kingdom which is laid down in the budget of the Department of Defence.

They state that the sum of the governmental expenditure is 190 billion guilders, the defence budget for the year 1987 is 13.7 billion guilders and they consider it therefore obvious to take 7% of all expenditures as a standard for all conscientious objections against the military destination of tax money.

They consider that strictly speaking the consequence of this opinion would be that of all revenues of the Kingdom from tax-money, that is about a 120 billion guilders, 7% has to be paid in the Peace Fund, that the provision would then have to apply to the direct and indirect taxes.

The introducers are of the opinion that this creates nearly unsolvable problems and therefore they propose to apply the aforesaid percentage exclusively to salary tax, income tax and property tax.[107]

They state that these taxes amount to one third of all tax revenues of the Kingdom, about 42 billion guilders.

They consider that in this approach it can be stated that, if 1% of all Dutch taxpayers would make use of the aforementioned legal provision, the Peace Fund would receive about 30 million guilders a year, then a yearly revenue of some millions of guilders seems to be a correct prognosis.

The Council of State in its advice d.d. November 1 1989[108] states that the bill introduces a financial open-ended regulation.

In the modified explanatory memorandum MP Beckers-de Bruijn states[109] that the total expenditure of the Kingdom in 1992 is 204 billion guilders, that the defence budget is 14,1 billion, 6,9%, and she considers it therefore obvious to take 6,9% of all expenditure as a standard for all conscientious objections to the military destination of tax money.

MP Beckers-de Bruijn considers that strictly speaking the consequence of this opinion would be that of all revenues of the Kingdom from tax money, that is about a 153,3 billion guilders, 6,9% would have to be paid in the Peace Fund.

She states that the taxes concerned, the salary tax, the income tax, the property tax and the succession tax amount to one third of all tax revenues of the Kingdom, about 67 billion guilders. She considers that in this approach it can be stated that, if one percent of all Dutch taxpayers would make use of the aforementioned legal provision, the Peace Fund would receive about 46 million guilders.

MP Beckers-de Bruijn states that with regard to the financial consequences it remains to be seen which part of the taxpayers will make use of the proposed provision.

She states that one way of calculating this is, looking at the number of persons who apply at this moment for other legal provisions regarding conscientious objections. In that case we have to speak about some thousands of citizens. She expects that only some persons of the Dutch taxpayers will apply for the proposed provision, that in that case an amount of some tens of millions guilders would flow into the Peace Fund.

She states that it is difficult to make a prognosis about the development of the Peace Fund in the future. She does not exclude that the Peace Fund will affect a growing number of people, will have an attractive power, on the other hand she states that the premises, the basic ideas, on which the provision is based will withhold taxpayers to apply for that provision.

MP Beckers-de Bruijn considers an amount of some millions of guilders each year, a reasonable prognosis.

The MPs of the GPV[110] asked for a better structured calculation of the possible revenue of the alternative purpose levy. They want to know the amount with regard to the different taxes and the average amount paid by the taxpayer. They state that on the basis of these data the calculation can be made on what the possible revenue will be.

5.4.3. Consequences for the Internal Revenue Service

The Council of State and the political parties fear an increase of the work burden of the taxation office.

The Council of State[111] considers that the work burden of the taxation office will be greatly increased, there is a lot more work to do.

The MPs of the CDA[112] want to know the organisational effects of the provision.

The MPs of the VVD are anxious about the growing work burden for the internal revenue service because of the implementation of this bill.

The MPs of Groen-Links (The Green Party) asked whether the extra work burden for the internal revenue service counterbalances the advantages of such a provision.

The MPs of the GPV want to have more information about the collection costs of the internal revenue service.


  • [1] See the sections (articles) 1 and 2 of the bill (annex 1 and 2).
  • [2] See page 2, point 2 of the Advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [3] See for example article 47 of the Income Tax Act 1964.
  • [4]Gewetensbezwaren vragen aandacht’ (‘Conscientious objections attract attention’), a report of a committee of the Scientific Institute of the CDA (committee chairman A.Soeteman), The Hague, May 1983.
  • [5] The Peace Fund is according to article 1 paragraph 3 of the modified bill d.d. May 6, 1992, Second Chamber 1991-1992 21 099 Nr. 7, a budget fund in the meaning of article 2 of the Accountability Act (Comptabiliteitswet). The Minister of Defence has according to article 2 paragraph 1 of the modified bill the administration and responsibility over the Peace Fund. So the Peace Fund budget has its own budget, separate from the budget of the Department of Defence. Both budgets are proposed by the Minister of Defence.
  • [6] See the report ‘Het geweten en de democratie, een werkboek voor het IKV’, met advies inzake het wetsvoorstel Gewetensbezwaren militaire bestemming belastinggelden (‘The conscience and the democracy, a work book for the Interchurch Peace Consultation’, with advice with regard to the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill), d.d. October 1991. The study meeting was held in the Mennonite Singelkerk in Amsterdam March 23, 1991. To this report will further be referred to as the IKV report 1991.
  • [7] See IKV report 1991, page 26. For this BWD proposal see subchapter 6.2. hereafter.
  • [8] He was a representative of the Doopsgezinde Broederschap (Mennonites) in the Dutch Council of Churches. The other members of the initiative group:
    • W.Kok Basisbeweging (Grass roots movement of parishes)
    • A.van Lunteren Nederlandse Protestanten Bond (Dutch Association of Protestants)
    • J.W.Nieuwenhuysen Remonstrantse Broederschap (The Remonstrants)
    • K.Nieuwerth (Quakers)
  • [9] There have been two committees of the IKV (Interchurch Peace Consultation) with regard to the Conscientious Objections to the Military Destination of Tax Money Bill.
    • The first IKV-committee consisted of C.Fennema, M.ten Broek and G.Zoon and the advice (it was a provisional advice) is d.d. 1990 (IKV 90/35).
    • The second IKV-committee consisted of K.Fennema-Slager, P.Bruinsma, M.G.Dade, M.ten Broek and E.Th.Hummels and the advice is d.d. October 1991.
    • The committees will be referred to hereafter as the first IKV-committee and the second IKV-committee.
  • [10] See S.R.A.van Eijck, ‘Gewetensbezwaren militaire bestemming belastinggelden’ (‘Conscientious objections to military destination of tax money’), in Fiscaal Weekblad 1992/6037, December 17 1992 page 1788.
  • [11] Pleidooi voor een wettelijke regeling Gewetensbezwaren Militaire Bestemming Belastinggelden, een nota van Pax Christi Nederland (Plea for a legal provision Conscientious Objections to Military Destination of Tax Money, a memorandum of Pax Christi The Netherlands by A.van Iersel, The Hague, October 1989, published in the IKV-report 1991, page 104 and page 105.
  • [12] See Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1989 Second Chamber of the parliament 1988-1989 21 099 Number 3 page 5.
  • [13] Ibid. page 6 and page 7.
  • [14] A provision for conscientious objections based on article 10 of the Wet financiering ontwikkeling snelle kweekreactor is given by Ministerial Directive of the Minister of Economic Affairs, Stcrt. December 19 1974,nr 247.
  • [15] VVD (Party for Freedom and Democracy) in the Provisional report d.d. September 24 1993 page 4.
  • [16] See IKV-report 1991 page 31 and page 32.
  • [17] IKV-report 1991 page 32 and Explanatory memorandum of the bill of 1989 pages 6 and 7.
  • [18] Isaiah 32:17.
  • [19] IKV-report 1991 page 104 and page 106.
  • [20] The explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1989, Second Chamber 1988-1989 21 099 Number 3 page 5 and page 6.
  • [21] See article 13 of the Wet gewetensbezwaren militaire dienst (Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act) as modified by Act d.d. December 23 1974 (Stb.781).
  • [22] See Provisional report d.d. September 24 1993 page 2.
  • [23] See the IKV-report 1991 page 106.
  • [24] See IKV-report 1991 page 106.
  • [25] See the IKV-report 1991 page 116.
  • [26] See page 3 of the advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [27] See the IKV-report 1991 page 26.
  • [28] See page 2 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1989 Second Chamber 1988-1989 21 099 Nr. 3.
  • [29] See paragraph 5.3.3. hereafter.
  • [30] Recent modification of article 98 of the Dutch Constitution by Act of July 10 1995 (into effect November 1 1995).
  • [31] See page 6 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1986, Second Chamber 1988-1989,21 099, number 3.
  • [32] See with regard to the discussion in the framework of the Dutch Council of Churches also D.J.Wolffram,‘Uit mijn beurs geen bommen, de Beweging Weigering Defensiebelasting en haar voorgeschiedenis’ (No bombs paid with money from my purse, the Peace Tax Movement and its history), Nijmegen, The Netherlands 1988, page 84 and further.
  • [33] Letter of the Contact Committee in Government Affairs (CiO) to Dr. H.A.M.Fiolet, secretary of the Dutch Council of Churches d.d. November 8, 1984, 84-3553-vS/hn/CIO 61.
  • [34] See page 6 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1989, Second Chamber 1988-1989, 21 099, number 3.
  • [35] The already mentioned letter of P.J. Boon to the Dutch Council of Churches d.d. September 25, 1984.
  • [36] During the 16th, 17th and 18th century the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
  • [37] See page 1 and page 2 of the Advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1, 1986, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [38] See page 53 of the report of the committee of the Scientific bureau of the CDA, ‘Gewetensbezwaren vragen aandacht’ (Conscientious objections attract attention) The Hague, May 1983.
  • [39] See Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6 1986 page 5, Second Chamber 1988-1989, 21 099, Number 3.
  • [40] See page 7 Explanatory memorandum d.d. May 6, 1992, Second Chamber 1991-1992, 21 099, number 8.
  • [41] See page 1 and page 2 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993 Second Chamber,1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [42] See page 3 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [43] See page 4 and page 5 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [44] See page 7 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [45] See page 26 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [46] See the IKV-report 1991, page 30.
  • [47] See the IKV-report 1991 page 99.
  • [48] See the IKV-report 1991 page 122.
  • [49] See page 1787 Fiscaal Weekblad 1992/6037, December 17, 1992.
  • [50] See page 1787 Fiscaal Weekblad 1992/6037, December, 1992.
  • [51] See page 9 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [52] See page 26 and page 27 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [53] See B.P.Vermeulen, De vrijheid van geweten, een fundamenteel rechtsprobleem (The freedom of conscience, a fundamental legal problem, diss.Rotterdam 1989.
  • [54] See page 110 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [55] See page 123 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [56] See page 2 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. april 6, 1989, Second Chamber, 1988-1989, 21 099, number 3.
  • [57] The effective conscription is in its last months at this moment in the Netherlands. Problem was sometimes in the past that too many persons got deferment because of study or some sort of exemption.
  • [58] See parliamentary history of the Dienstweigeringswet (Refusal of Military Service Act) d.d. July 13 1923, Stb.357.
  • [59] See page 8 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [60] See page 11 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [61] See the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989, Second Chamber, 1988-1989, 21 099, number 3.
  • [62] See page 6 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989.
  • [63] See page 6 of the explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989.
  • [64] Report of a committee of the Scientific Bureau of the CDA, The Hague, May 1983, page 57.
  • [65] See page 7 of the Explanatory memorandum of April 6, 1989.
  • [66] See page 3 of the Advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1, 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [67] See page 8 and page 9 of the Modified explanatory memorandum d.d. May 6, 1992, Second Chamber, 1991-1992, 21 099, number 8.
  • [68] See notes in subchapter 4.4.
  • [69] See notes in subchapter 4.4.
  • [70] See page 3 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993, Second Chamber, 1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [71] See page 3 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [72] See page 5 of the Provisional report of September 24, 1993.
  • [73] See page 6 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993. GroenLinks is a party originated from three political parties: the Pacifist Socialist Party, the Political Party of Radicals and the Communist Party of the Netherlands.
  • [74] See page 58 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [75] I doubt this very much. Cause of some problems was not the Conscientious Objections to Military Service Act, but the many numbers of other sorts of exemptions together with many deferments because of study.
  • [76] See page 105 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [77] Christoffer S.Hanna, Conscientious objection to paying tax for military weapons, Aberdeen, UK, February 1992, page 81 and page 82.
  • [78] See C.Hanna, Ibid. page 81, he quotes Dignan, ‘A Right not to render unto Caesar: Conscientious Objection for the Taxpayer’ (1983).
  • [79] See page 81 of C.Hanna, Ibid.
  • [80] See page 23 P.Kruithof in ‘Weigeren defensiebelasting?’ Verslag van een discussiemiddag gehouden op 11 maart 1983 (Refusing war tax?, report of a debate, March 11 1983), Stichting Maatschappij en Krijgsmacht, The Hague, Autumn 1983.
  • [81] See page 6 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989, Second Chamber, 1988-1989, 21 099, number 3.
  • [82] See page 6 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989.
  • [83] Boon and the CiO, see page 54 of the IKV-report 1991 (n.43 and 45).
  • [84] See page 57 of the report of the commission of the Scientific Bureau of the CDA ‘Gewetensbezwaren vragen aandacht’ (Conscientious objections attract attention), The Hague May 1983.
  • [85] G.J.M. Jacobs, Het aanslagbiljet een stembiljet? (The tax assessment paper a ballot paper?) in Fiscaal Weekblad number 5577, February 3, 1983 page 151. See hereafter subchapter 6.3.
  • [86] See page 8 Advice Council of State d.d. November 1, 1989, no.W07.89.0325.
  • [87] Responding to parliamentary questions of the MP De Kwaadsteniet (CDA).
  • [88] See the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993, Second Chamber 1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [89] See page 9 of the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993.
  • [90] See page 26 of the IKV-report 1991
  • [91] See page 106 of the IKV-report.
  • [92] See the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993, Second Chamber, 1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [93] See IKV-report 1991 page 114.
  • [94] See page 8 of the Advice of the Council of State of November 1, 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [95] See the Provisional report d.d. September 24, 1993, Second Chamber, 1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [96] See page 13 and page 14 of the Modified explanatory memorandum d.d. May 6, 1992, Second Chamber, 1991-1992, 21 099, nr 8.
  • [97] See page 27 of the IKV-report 1991.
  • [98] See page 1788 Fiscaal Weekblad 1992/6037, December 17, 1992.
  • [99] See page 9 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989, Second Chamber, 1988-1989, 21 099, number 3.
  • [100] See IKV report 1991, pages 14 to 23.
  • [101] See the IKV-report 1991, page 108.
  • [102] S.Rodota, Scope and limits of conscientious objections, Conscientious objection to military service, in: Freedom of conscience, proceedings of a seminar organised by the Secretariat General of the Council of Europe in co-operation with the F.M.van Asbeck Centre for Human Rights Studies of the University of Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands, November 12-14, 1992, page 96.
  • [103] Advice d.d. November 1, 1989, Number W07.89.0325, page 8.
  • [104] See explanatory memorandum Comptabiliteitswet 1976 as mentioned on page 55 of the Editie Schuurman and Jordens,Zwolle 1977.
  • [105] See page 12 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. May 6, 1992, Second chamber, 1991-1992, 21 099, number 8.
  • [106] See page 11 of the Explanatory memorandum d.d. April 6, 1989, Second Chamber, 1988-1989, 21 099, number 1.
  • [107] Ibid. page 12
  • [108] See page 3 of the Advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1, 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [109] See page 13 of the Modified explanatory memorandum d.d. May 6, 1992, Second Chamber,1991-1992, 21 099, number 8.
  • [110] See page 10 of the Provisional report d.d. September 1993, Second Chamber, 1993-1994, 21 099, number 10.
  • [111] See page 8 of the Advice of the Council of State d.d. November 1, 1989, Number W07.89.0325.
  • [112] See the Provisional report d.d. September 24 1993, Second Chamber, 1993-1994, 21 099, nr 10.

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