On 23 March 2023, the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, rejected a case against the Swiss Army brought by four former special forces soldiers who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.
The four military professionals were fired during autumn 2021 by operational command because they were not vaccinated against Covid-19 after being warned that it was a requirement. A key reason given by the army for vaccination was the need to be immediately operationally available for missions abroad, such as the exit from Afghanistan.
The four men took their case to court arguing that their firing represented an attack on their fundamental right to personal liberty.
However this week the Federal Tribunal rejected their case on the grounds that the requirement was justified. Those who sign up to work as military professionals are bound by special rules, and, in particular, must submit to a duty of obedience inherent to military service, it argued. Vaccination was a military order. And in the context of the professional military activity of a special unit, the obligation to get vaccinated was a mild violation of fundamental rights.
In addition, laws governing the protection of people and goods abroad in relation to military troops was enough to justify the vaccination requirement, wrote the court.
Federal Tribunal decision (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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