32 CFR § 1636.8 - Considerations relevant to granting or denying a claim for classification as a conscientious objector.

§ 1636.8 Considerations relevant to granting or denying a claim for classification as a conscientious objector.

(a) After the registrant has submitted a claim for classification as a conscientious objector and his file is complete, a determination of his sincerity will be made based on:

(1) All documents in the registrant's file folder; and

(2) The oral statements of the registrant at his personal appearance(s) before the local and/or appeal board; and

(3) The oral statements of the registrant's witnesses, if any, at his personal appearance(s) before the local board; and

(4) The registrant's general demeanor during his personal appearance(s).

(b) The registrant's stated convictions should be a matter of conscience.

(c) The board should be convinced that the registrant's personal history since the crystallization of his conscientious objection is not inconsistent with his claim and demonstrates that the registrant's objection is not solely a matter of expediency. A recent crystallization of beliefs does not in itself indicate expediency.

(d) The information presented by the registrant should reflect a pattern of behavior in response to war and weapons which is consistent with his stated beliefs. Instances of violent acts or conviction for crimes of violence, or employment in the development or manufacturing of weapons of war, if the claim is based upon or supported by a life of nonviolence, may be indicative of inconsistent conduct.

(e) The development of a registrant's opposition to war in any form may bear on his sincerity. If the registrant claims a recent crystallization of beliefs, his claim should be supported by evidence of a religious or educational experience, a traumatic event, an historical occasion, or some other special situation which explains when and how his objection to participation in war crystallized.

(f) In the event that a registrant has previously worked in the development of or manufacturing of weapons of war or has served as a member of a military reserve unit, it should be determined whether such activity was prior to the stated crystallization of the registrant's conscientious objector beliefs. Inconsistent conduct prior to the actual crystallization of conscientious objector beliefs is not necessarily indicative of insincerity. But, inconsistent conduct subsequent to such crystallization may indicate that registrant's stated objection is not sincere.

(g) A registrant's behavior during his personal appearance before a board may be relevant to the sincerity of his claim.

(1) Evasive answers to questions by board members or the use of hostile, belligerent, or threatening words or actions, for example, may in proper circumstances be deemed inconsistent with a claim in which the registrant bases his objection on a belief in nonviolence.

(2) Care should be exercised that nervous, frightened, or apprehensive behavior at the personal appearance is not misconstrued as a reflection of insincerity.

(h) Oral response to questions posed by board members should be consistent with the written statements of the registrant and should generally substantiate the submitted information in the registrant's file folder; any inconsistent material should be explained by the registrant. It is important to recognize that the registrant need not be eloquent in his answers. But, a clear inconsistency between the registrant's oral remarks at his personal appearance and his written submission to the board may be adequate grounds, if not satisfactorily explained, for concluding that his claim is insincere.

(i) The registrant may submit letters of reference and other supporting statements of friends, relatives and acquaintances to corroborate the sincerity of his claim, although such supplemental documentation is not essential to approval of his claim. A finding of insincerity based on these letters or supporting statements must be carefully explained in the board's decision, specific mention being made of the particular material relied upon for denial of classification in Class 1-A-0 or Class 1-0.

[47 FR 4655, Feb. 1, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 24457, July 1, 1987; 60 FR 13908, Mar. 15, 1995]