Citizens of the Republic of Armenia who have evaded compulsory military service will be subject to criminal liability upon their return to their homeland starting from January 2020.
On January 20, 2020, the parliament refused to include in the agenda the issue of extending the validity of the law on citizens who evaded conscription.
By extending the validity of the Law on citizens who failed to complete compulsory military service in violation of the established procedure in 2004–2019, citizens who evaded compulsory military service were given the opportunity to return to their homeland, pay a fine and be exempted from criminal liability.
The law expired on December 31, 2019, and this time Gevorg Gorgisyan, Secretary of the Bright Armenia Prty faction at the National Assembly proposed a bill on extending the validity of the law. The latter stated that until a fundamental solution is found, it is necessary to extend the period of validity of the law so that the citizens of Armenia have the opportunity to return to Armenia during 2020 as well.
However, the ruling party refused to do so, arguing that the law has become a means of evading the army service, and promised to find a final solution. There is no other law now that regulates the legal relations of citizens who have evade the conscription and want to return to their homeland.
And since January 2020, those who have avoided compulsory military service will be held criminally liable under Article 327 of the Criminal Code, namely avoiding the military or alternative service, training or mobilizations, which is punishable by imprisonment for the term of four to eight years.
What did Law on Citizens Who Failed to Complete Compulsory Military Service in Violation of the Established Procedure envisage?
Law on Citizens Who Failed to Complete Compulsory Military Service in Violation of the Established Procedure, which entered into force on March 1, 2004, allowed 27-year-old people who have evaded conscription (35 in the case of the reserve) to pay the state duties, to be exempted from prosecution and enter Armenia without restriction.
The amount to be paid was first set at 100 times of the minimum wage, and from 2017 it was set at 200 times the minimum wage.
How many people who evaded military service made use of the law?
In response to the inquiry by the Fact Investigation Platform, the Prosecutor General’s Office reports that according to the regulations stipulated by the Law on Citizens Who Failed to Complete Compulsory Military Service in Violation of the Established Procedure in the course of 2004-2019, the prosecution of 10,921 persons has been terminated.
As for the state duty paid, the Ministry of Defense informs that after the law came into force and till December 31, 2019 the amount to be paid by 10,921 citizens was about 13 billion 396 thousand AMD. According to the Ministry of Defense, the money is used to meet military needs in the manner established by the Armenian Government.
It should be noted that according to the information provided by the RA Police, under Article 327 of the Criminal Code, 11,500 citizens under the age of 35 were declared wanted by the Police for evading service from November 2008 to November 2019.