Government seeks to end amnesty-for-cash law for draft evasion

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Government seeks to end amnesty-for-cash law for draft evasion

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 12, ARMENPRESS. The Cabinet has announced it is ending the amnesty-for-cash law for draft evaders, issuing a negative conclusion on a bill proposing to extend the law.

The law will still function until December 31, but will not be extended, the Cabinet said.

Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan said at the Cabinet meeting that the law was an incentive provided by the government in a specific period of time in concrete political-economic conditions. But in practice, he said, the law had become a method for young men to evade from compulsory military service. Tonoyan said many men who have reached conscription age are relying on the regular extension of the law and are evading service by leaving the country, and then avoiding criminal prosecution by paying the defined fee depending on the number of years they have spent on the run. “We believe this to be unfair towards the citizens living in Armenia who have fulfilled their constitutional obligation,” Tonoyan said.

The law was enabling draft dodgers who have reached the age of 27 to avoid criminal liability by paying a penalty to the state.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that the law will still be active until December 31st.

“And our dearest compatriots who find it to be bad that this law will not be extended have the chance to buy airplane tickets today, pass all the procedures here and also celebrate New Year in Armenia,” Pashinyan said, referring to male Armenian citizens who are currently abroad and who have not served in the military as prescribed by law.

The opposition Bright Armenia (LHK) party had proposed to extend the law and submitted the bill to the Cabinet for approval.

But the Cabinet today issued a negative conclusion.

The decision still has to formally pass parliament.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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