They Are Amending the Alternative Service Act so That the Republic o

They Are Amending the Alternative Service Act so That the Republic of
Armenia Doesn’t Lose in Strasburg Anymore

March 1 2013

`The government has chosen the path of minding its pocket; that is why
they are making that kind of amendments to the law,’ Mikayel
Danielyan, a human rights advocate, said during a conversation with
, talking about the discussions on the Alternative
Service Law Amendment Bill and the Criminal Code Enactment Bill. Then
he added: `The problem is that the existing law doesn’t comply with
the international standards to such an extent that those people refuse
to serve in the army. And they want to make these changes so that the
Republic of Armenia doesn’t pay more than a hundred thousand euros to
the European Court. They are taking that step only for that, not to
amend the existing law, or all of them are democrats. I cannot but
talk about our Justice Minister’s statement, which is nonsense. He
says that national security and human rights are interconnected. Since
when, who said that? Human rights don’t depend on national, state
ideology and generally anything. The law should be amended
substantially and seriously.’ Edmon Marukyan, a member of the National
Assembly, thinks, on the other hand, that the above-mentioned bill is
the guarantee of solving problems in the field and adds: `As a result
of the amendments to the law, the system will be reformed, which will
make it possible for persons who cannot serve in the army based on
their religion or other beliefs to do an alternative military or labor
service. Those persons who are in correctional facilities at the
moment, are condemned for refusing to serve in the army will be
released and their criminal records will be expunged. And if their
cases are currently being considered by court, all those cases will be
closed. This testifies to the fact that this act will have a serious
impact on 80 people. The second step will be that in accordance with
the mentioned act, they will apply for and do an alternative military
service. If this bill is adopted, the criminal records of those people
will be expunged, what more can we do? Certainly, it is not ruled out
that new problems might arise while enforcing the new act. Basically
it has arrived late, since so many people were imprisoned, we paid
money to the European Court, made compensation etc.’ Tatev HARUTYUNYAN

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