THE FACTS

Whereas the facts presented by the Applicant may be summarised as
follows:

The Applicant is a Netherlands citizen, born in 1939. He is a farmer
and merchant residing at Barneveld.

He states that by reason of his religious beliefs he has objections of
conscience to any form of insurance. According to his religious
convictions, prosperity and adversity are meted out to human beings by
God and it is not permissible to attempt in advance to prevent or
reduce the effects of possible disasters.

Consequently, the Applicant does not find it possible to accept any
systems of compulsory insurance.

In the present case, he refers to one such system introduced by the Act
of 30th May, 1963 on Liability Insurance for Motor Vehicles (Wet
aansprakelijkheidsverzekoring motorrijtuigen). According to the
provisions of this Act, every user of a motor vehicle must be insured
against third party liability.

As in other Netherlands legislation on compulsory insurance schemes,
there are in the Act of 30th May, 1963 special provisions regarding
exemption for those who object, on grounds of conscience, to any form
of insurance. Persons who are granted exemption under these provisions
do not have to pay an insurance premium but are required to pay an
equivalent sum of money as income tax and the Applicant states that
these tax payments serve, in fact, to cover the same risks as the
insurance system is designed to cover. Consequently, there is not, in
the Applicant's opinion, any real exemption, and he states that the
German term "Etikettenschwindel" (false labelling) has sometimes been
used to describe this procedure. The Applicant concludes that the
provisions regarding exemption are not acceptable and that, therefore,
his objections of conscience also concern the exemption system provided
for by the Act.

As the Applicant is a merchant, he urgently needs a car for his
business. On ... 1965, he was convicted by the Magistrate's Court
(Kantonrechter) of Harderwijk for driving a motor vehicle without an
insurance and he was sentenced to a fine of 50 guilders or, in default,
10 days' detention. The motor vehicle was confiscated with the order
that the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle should be handed over
to the Applicant. Finally, the Applicant was also disqualified from
driving motor vehicles for a period of six months.

On appeal, this judgment was confirmed, on ... 1966, by the Regional
Court (Arrondissementsrechtbank) of Zwolle. The Applicant lodged a
further appeal (beroep in cassatie) with the Supreme Court (Hoge Raad),
and invoked in particular his objections of conscience to insurance
systems. On ... 1966, this appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The Applicant alleges that the Supreme Court's decision violates the
Convention, in particular its Article 9, since for him one of the
practices of his religion and religious beliefs is to abstain from
participation in the insurance system concerned.

THE LAW

Whereas the Applicant complains of the system of compulsory motor
insurance introduced by the Netherlands Act of 30th May, 1963;

Whereas he objects not only to the primary obligation to participate
in the insurance scheme but also to the character of the exemption
system provided for in the Act in regard to conscientious objectors;

Whereas the Applicant alleges that, as a result of the Act concerned
and its application to him, he is the victim of a violation of Article
9 (Art. 9) of the Convention;

Whereas Article 9 (Art. 9) of the Convention provides as follows:

"(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief
and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or
private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching
practice and observance.

(2) Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only
to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a
democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the
protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of
the rights and freedoms of others."

Whereas the Commission has examined the Application in relation to
Article 9 (Art. 9) of the Convention and has had regard to its previous
decisions in similar cases (see, in particular, Yearbook V, pages 278
and 286, Collection of Decisions, Volume 18, page 40);

Whereas in the present case the question first arises as to whether the
facts alleged could be considered to concern "the right to freedom of
thought, conscience and religion" as guaranteed by paragraph (1) of
Article 9 (Art. 9-1);

Whereas, in so far as this provision is involved, the Commission finds
it clear that the Netherlands legislation concerned and its application
in the present case are justified under paragraph (2) of Article 9
(Art. 9-2); whereas in this respect the Commission has noted that the
purpose of the compulsory motor insurance scheme is to safeguard the
rights of third parties who may become victims of motor accidents; and
whereas paragraph (2) of Article 9 (Art. 9-2) expressly permits such
limitations of the freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs as are
necessary in a democratic society "for the protection of the rights and
freedoms of others";

Whereas it follows that the present Application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2)
(Art. 27-2), of the Convention.

Now therefore the Commission declares this Application inadmissible.