Seda Ghukasyan

Armenia: Bill Seeks to Raise Fees Paid by Draft Dodgers in Armenia to Drop Criminal Charges

The Armenian parliament is now reviewing a bill that would extend a law by which those men 27 or older who never served in the military can pay a sum of money and have criminal proceedings against them dropped.

Karineh Achemyan, the bill’s cosponsor, said she had received numerous calls from Armenians living overseas who can’t return to Armenia because the law on the books isn’t working.

Achemyan also wants to raise the fees to be paid.

“Over the past several years, hundreds of citizens have returned to Armenia and paid around AMD 8 billion to the government. Listening to the government representative, we decided to raise the amounts to be paid,” Achemyan said.

Deputy Minister of Defense Artak Zakaryan told the parliament that the law has been changed eight times over the past few years and that it has always sought to ensure the return of citizens to Armenia.

When asked how many citizens are being sought for avoiding military service, Zakaryan replied “in the thousands”.

Zakaryan argued that the government wasn’t interested in raising more money, but felt that those who had avoided their constitutional obligation should pay an appropriate amount.