Not many people desert from military service

Not many people desert from military service

By Karine Mangasarian

October 29, 2004

According to data provided by the Armenian Defense Ministry, only
about twenty people have chosen the option of alternative military
service duringthe last army call-up in Armenia. The government has
adopted decree N940 on â=80=9C Locations for alternative military
service and alternative service uniform’.

According to this decree, those who choose the alternative service
will serve in Syunik, Gegharkunik and Tavush regions working in
psychiatric hospitals, orphanages and clinics. National Assembly
vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannissian presented a draft law that proposes
several amendments to the law on alternative military service.

Before commenting on the amendments, Hovhannissian reminded that his
law had stirred wide public discussions and fears that it might
encourage desertion from the army and increase membership in various
religious organizations.` Judging from the applications we have
received so far, those fears were not justified.

Many National Assembly deputies including some members of the
opposition were suggesting that this law would result in mass
desertion from the army. However, it turned out that they were
underestimating the Armeniansâ=80=99 conscious attitude towards the
army. The twenty applications that we have received sofar are the best
proof for this point,’ Hovhannissian says.

However, time showed that the law needs some amendments. Hovhannissian
believes this is a result of lack of experience in drafting such
legislation. The amendments will specify the rights and obligations of
those choosing alternative service. The amendments will determine the
social security guarantees and the scope of responsibility in case of

Another issue to be addressed in the amendment is the examination of
the applications for alternative service. Initially it was planned
that each ofthe local army committees would examine the applications
for alternative service. However, it turned out that it would be
impossible to send corresponding experts to all of the local

The amendment proposes to create a special committee within the
central army committee that will examine the alternative service
applications. `There will be no problems in this respect especially
taking into account that there are not that many applications,’
Hovhannissian concluded.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress