YEREVAN, February 26. /ARKA/. Some 9,800 citizens of Armenia over the age of 27 have avoided criminal prosecution since 2003 due to a law that allows male citizens who have dodged compulsory military service for years to buy amnesty.
Andranik Kocharyan, the head of a National Assembly Committee on Defense and Security Issues, told reporters today that the Committee endorsed a motion of the Bright Armenia party to again extend the validity of the law until March 1, 2019.
The law first passed in 2004 enables draft dodgers aged 27 and older to avoid criminal prosecution in return for a fee depending on the number of years spent on the run. According to Kocharyan, the dodgers in 2017 paid about 729 million drams.
Kocharyan said the annual extension of the law allows some citizens to find legislative loopholes and evade the compulsory military service. He said after paying the fee they can return to their homeland, which not only undermines the defense capability of the country , but also causes social inequality.
Kocharyan said it is necessary to create such conditions which would make dodging compulsory military service impossible, and the service in the armed forces honorable. In his words, today some 10 thousand Armenian males who dodged their military service are wanted by Armenian law-enforcement bodies.
He argued that this legislation in fact, amnesties the dodgers who are on the wanted list, and who set an example for those who want to evade military service.
The maximum fine for the crime is 3 million 600 thousand drams (about $7,300).