Armenian Parliament Votes to Impose Hefty Fines on Draft Dodgers

Armenia's parliament chambers
Armenia's parliament chambers

Armenia’s parliament chambers

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—All men who have illegally evaded compulsory military service and will have turned 27 by December 1 may be amnestied provided they pay a hefty sum, according to a new amendment passed by Armenian lawmakers on Friday.

The 105-seat National Assembly voted unanimously for the extension of the already existing legislation, with the amendment expected to provide hundreds of young men with an opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution and legally return to Armenia.

In order to do so, they will need to pay 200,000 drams (about $410) for each conscription period they illegally missed (or a total of 3.6 million drams, or some $7,400, for all draft periods).

Ruling Republican Party member of parliament Karine Achemian, who presented the bill in parliament, clarified that the amended law will be in force until December 31, 2019.

The original law adopted in 2004 has so far been amended eight times. During this period thousands of citizens returned to Armenia benefiting from the amnesty offered by this legislation. The previous term of the legislation expired in May 2015.

Earlier, the Defense Ministry suggested that the parliament provide such an opportunity for the last time and also raise the legal cost of the amnesty to at least 9 million drams (approximately $19,000). But that initiative was rebuffed by the parliamentary committee on defense and security.

The committee’s head Koryun Nahapetian and several other lawmakers affiliated with the Republican Party publicly criticized the amendment last week.

Achemian also argued that the amendment sought by the Defense Ministry would restrict lawmakers’ constitutional right to come up with bills.

Nahapetian said last week that 700 and 800 draft dodgers have been granted such amnesty annually since 2004. He also revealed that almost 9,500 other men remain on the run on draft evasion charges.


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One Comment;

  1. Norserunt said:

    Armenia is located in an unforgiving neighborhood that requires Armenians to always be vigilant and ready for war. For the first time in one thousand years we have independence. Not only that, for the first time in well over one thousand years we have managed to liberate significant amounts of our historic territories. Yet, we have able bodied men doing all they can to avoid military service and Western funded activists from the Diaspora are encouraging them. So embarrassing. Turks are laughing.

    “Corruption” exists everywhere, especially in Azerbaijan, especially in the United States. Western inspired slogans like “there is corruption in Armenia” is simply an excuse many self-hating Armenians adopt and use it as an excuse to abandon their homeland and avoid any form of responsibility towards their state. That said, this military draft law is meant to eliminate corruption in that it no long gives the sons of the upper class in the country an easy way out of avoiding military service. With this law every 18 year old in the country has to serve regardless of class and/or so-called connections.

    The bottom line is this: If Armenians are not willing to serve in their country’s armed forces, regardless of the level of “corruption” that takes place in the country, than Armenians as a people don’t deserve statehood. This kind of constant whining and infighting is why we Armenians (and Greeks) lost all of Asia Minor to Turkic peoples during the past one thousand years.