Sunday, March 27, 2011

Suspended but not abolished

Last 9 March 2011 was the tenth anniversary of the publication of a Royal Decree suspending the compulsory military service in Spain. To commemorate this event, the Spanish Government held a celebration with all the leaders of the armed forces, which turned out to be more of a tribute to the military service rather than a celebration of its suspension, including such figures as Butragueño and Cándido Méndez sharing their anecdotes and good memories.
Why are we using the word suspension instead of cancellation or abolishment? Simply because this decree makes it very clear: the military service is not abolished, it is just suspended. The Spanish Constitution states that “Spaniards have the duty to defend Spain” and this duty is still in force as long as the text is not amended. Should we worry about it or are we just playing things up? Think whatever you want, but the military service is not abolished and it could be reinstituted when necessary.
Something similar applies to the death penalty: section 15 of the Spanish Constitution states that “the death penalty is abolished unless otherwise provided for by military criminal laws in times of war”. The truth is that Organic Law 11/1995 abolishes death penalty even in case of war, but section 15 of the Spanish Constitution has not been amended yet. It’s high time, isn’t it?


  1. Royal Decree 247/2001 on the suspension of compulsory military service:
  2. Ceremony in commemoration of the military service:
  3. Spanish Constitution:
  4. Organic Law 11/1995 on the abolition of the death penalty in times of armed conflict:
  5. Amnesty International about death penalty in Spain:


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