Armenia requires all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 27 to complete two years of compulsory military service, with reserves up to the age of 35. 

The enlistment process is managed by the military commissariats in the area where the men are registered, during the months of January and May. Civilians should present themselves at the designated location. The registration process starts when males turn 16. Without proof of registration, they cannot obtain an Armenian passport.

Conscripts undergo a medical examination to determine their fitness for service.

Depending on the results, draftees are assigned to specific branches of the military and given roles.

The exemption from military service is allowed in rare and special cases. Distinguished young scientists, sportsmen, and other professionals, as well as people with certain family conditions, can be exempted from the army, get a postponement, or be entitled to alternative service. GBTQ+ people who come out to the commissariats are also being exempted from the military service.

The Armenian government has canceled the postponement of military service for students who meet the requirements. However, they have introduced an initiative for those who wish to complete their education before serving. These conscripts can apply for special programmes offered by the Ministry of Defense, which cover the cost of their education, on the condition that they sign a contract with the ministry after completing their studies.

Those who avoid military service are facing criminal charges. If the person who avoided conscription returns to Armenia after turning 28, he can pay a fine of about 3.5 million AMD to avoid criminal prosecution. Aiming at regulating the process, the Armenian government wanted to introduce a similar mechanism of the conscripts bailing their way out of the Army by paying 24 million AMD. Facing a strong backlash from society, the authorities halted the discussions. 

The Armenian army is set to undergo a major change with the upcoming amendment to the law on military service. If adopted fully, the law will allow women to serve in the army  on a voluntary basis. Women will be able to serve for six months and then have the option to switch to a five-year contract. The amendment is expected to come into force before the winter conscription. Currently, women in the Armenian military serve only on a contract basis. Men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to serve in the military for two years.

Allowing women to join the armed forces is part of the broader security and armed forces reforms currently underway. To ensure that these reforms are not only structural but also value-based, the government needs to adopt appropriate strategies. In order to prevent violence and discrimination during conscription and service, the government must review and adopt laws to regulate the process. Additionally, strict monitoring mechanisms should be implemented to ensure the safety and respect of all conscripts and service members.

For more information about the conscription process and the rights of conscripts in Armenia, see the 2022 report by DiverCity NGO (in Armenian).


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