Laws and regulations on draft evasion and military registration in Armenia

What is the draft evasion?

In the context of this article, we refer to draft evasion as the avoidance of compulsory military service in violation of RA laws.

What are the legal consequences for draft evasion?

Draft evasion can entail the following consequences:

  • Criminal punishment (imprisonment for up to 3 years, in the presence of aggravating circumstances for up to 5 years)

  • Restriction of the right to hold certain positions

  • Inability to obtain an Armenian passport

 

Can prosecution be avoided in exchange for payment?

No. The RA law on “Citizens who have not performed compulsory military service in violation of the established procedures”, which provided for such a possibility, was effective until December 31, 2019. Therefore, this option is no longer available.

What happens if the person has left Armenia at a young age?

Many individuals, who have left Armenia before the age of 16 or stayed in Armenia completely off-the-grid, do not have military pre-registration with their territorial military enlistment and registration office (if citizens residing abroad have not registered through the diplomatic and consular office). In practice, persons who have not been pre-registered are not considered draft evaders. Consequently, if they decide to return to Armenia before the age of 27 they will be obliged to complete their compulsory military service. However, those who return after 27 will not be obliged to perform military service, nor will they face criminal charges. Therefore, they do not have to make the aforementioned payment to have criminal prosecution terminated. It is possible to check with the police beforehand whether the person is under investigation.

Who is subject to military registration?

Male citizens over 16 are subject to military registration. Without proof of registration, they cannot obtain an Armenian passport.

Are dual citizens subject to military conscription?

Armenian citizens who also have acquired foreign citizenship are subject to military conscription irrespective of their service in the foreign military. Individuals, who have served at least 12 months in a foreign military or performed an alternative civilian service for at least 18 months before acquiring Armenian citizenship, are exempt from mandatory military service. (Article 21 § 1 (2) and § 6 of the RA law on “Military Service and the Status of Serviceman”).

How can individuals who are residing in a foreign country register with their territorial military enlistment and registration office from abroad?

Citizens who plan to stay in a foreign country for more than 183 days can have their military registration through the diplomatic or consular office (Paragraphs 24, 25, 26 of Government decree N-1000 of 29.09.2016).

 

What happens after the application is submitted to the diplomatic or consular office?

Within 3 days after the application has been submitted to the diplomatic or consular office, it must be dispatched to the State Military Enlistment and Registration Commission. After receiving the package, the Commission registers the applicant within 3 days, which can be extended should there be a need to determine the applicant’s registration status. After registering the applicant, the package is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which informs the applicant through the diplomatic or consular office.

Essentially, the procedure is completed remotely. It is worth noting that no medical check-up is necessary to check the applicant’s fitness when military registration is done through the diplomatic or consular office.

 

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