The scandalous draft law “On citizens that have not done the mandatory military service in accordance with the prescribed order” was submitted for the discussion at the National Assembly by the second reading. The draft law refers to male citizens above 27 who have not served in the army, and if they return they will be prosecuted.
The main speaker Karine Achemyan said that for the 9th time they are making amendments in the law and offer to extend the term to allow citizens above 27 make payments to be exempted from prosecution.
After the first reading, “Yelq” made proposals but Karine Achemyan said that those were rejected because they are not in line with the logic that this law is based on. The government does not want to extend the term of the law anymore, we are a warring country and the Ministry of Defence does not want it to be a stimulus for the citizens to avoid compulsory military service.
Head of “Yelq” faction Nikol Pashinyan asked, that the 9th time they are making amendments in the law, whether they have statistics on how many citizens have made use of this law during these years and have paid not to be prosecuted for not serving in the army, and whether they have statistics on how many of them have remained in Armenia.
Karine Achemyan replied that she did not know how many have remained, but over these years, more than 8 billion drams has been transferred to the budget and more than a thousand people per year have returned.
Pashinyan said that around 4,000 people have returned within 9 years which is not a high index, about 12,000 people are being searched for, accused of escaping from military service, and moreover, they are the people that have been enrolled, and there are about as many citizens who had left in their childhood before being enrolled, this means that the law does not work well.
Deputy Minister of Defence Artak Zakaryan said that 10 billion drams have been paid within these years. And Koryun Nahapetyan, the Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence and National Security Issues, announced the number of the citizens exempted by payment: 9147 citizens in 9 years.
Artak Zakaryan mentioned that, nevertheless, this is a draft law on those who have escaped from the army service, because even if they had left in childhood, reaching the age of 18, they should have realized that they have a duty towards the state, many of them have returned, honestly served and left, not waiting for the change of the law term.
So, in order not to give chance to those who have plans to escape the army, they offer to remove the law from the legal system some time later.
The Deputy Minister said that many citizens abroad are waiting for the adoption of this law, but they should be told that this is the last opportunity, and that they can be exempted of responsibility through payments by December 31, 2019.
Sasun Mikayelyan, a member of the “Yelq”, asked, what they plan to do with those who do not return by 2019. Artak Zakaryan replied: “Who do not appear to have some options: either take the responsibility for a crime committed through a judicial proceeding or stay abroad”.
Artak Zakaryan noted that they are dealing with a medium-gravity crime: “Now, if someone steals or causes a serious body injury, do we say, well he is our citizen, let us not sentence him?”.