On 24 August 2022, the RA Draft Law on making amendments and addenda to the Law on “Military service and status of a serviceman” was put on the unified website for publication of legal acts’ drafts.
HCAV considers unacceptable circulation of such a draft and adoption of such a law, and finds that the draft should be withdrawn from circulation.
According to the draft law, the RA Ministry of Defence replaces the system of joining the compulsory military service of private rank in a designated place and by the designated conditions with a new system of transferring from the compulsory military service of the private rank and officer rank to contractual military service, calculation of honorarium is established for the servicemen who joined this service in the procedure and amount established by the RA Government’s decree, and a short-term compulsory military service is introduced for the private rank (four and a half months on average) provided that AMD 24 million be paid to the RA state budget.
The draft is substantiated by the establishment of legislative bases for cutting the terms of compulsory military service in a gradual and regulated manner as determined under the RA Government’s program of 2021-2026, as well as the condition that this amount of money can ensure a contractual serviceman’s monthly salary of AMD 400.000 for a term of 5 years.
HCAV considers unacceptable circulation of such a draft and adoption of such a law, based on a number of conditions:
first of all, the aforementioned draft was not discussed with the community of specialists prior to its circulation;
the draft grossly violates the principle of prohibition of discrimination by creating unequal conditions for servicemen, i.e., a differentiated approach based on their property status;
the draft is problematic in terms of social justice, since obligations are unfairly imposed: only the rich class of society can eschew their obligation and take advantage of the privileges established by law. The draft will only deepen the polarization between the social strata;
the draft can have no beneficial effect in terms of increasing public trust;
it is unclear as to what calculations and evaluations were used to establish the amount of money to be paid, taking into account the fact that the level of poverty in Armenia was 27%.
Taking into account the aforementioned issues, we find that the draft should be withdrawn from circulation. Besides, it is necessary to display a systemic approach for the solution to numerous problems existing in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, which would be aimed at structural changes of the Armed Forces, improvement of moral-psychological situation, elimination of violations caused by statutory relations, effective organization of call-up and military service processes, effective protection of servicemen’s right to health, improvement of the level of education and capacity building of officers and non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.
HCAV presented the recommendation through the system of e-draft.am.