“All citizens, regardless of their beliefs, affiliation with church or position in church, have the same Constitutional duty of performing military or alternative defense service,” the court said in the ruling.
According to the ruling, the legal provision that exempts clergy of Lithuania’s traditional religious communities recognized by the state from military duty runs counter to the country’s Organic law.
Two judges in the case handed down their separate opinion.
The Constitutional Court was approached by a Vilnius court hearing a claim from a Jehovah witness against the military’s refusal to dismiss him from military service.
Lithuania’s traditional religious communities include Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Evangelical Lutherans, Evangelical Reformists, Orthodoxes, Old Believers, Judaists, Muslim Sunis and Karaites.
According to the latest census of 2011, 77 percent of Lithuanians identified themselves as Roman Catholic.