UKRAINE Conscript Law

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UKRAINE Conscript Law Powered By Docstoc
					                                                    1999 government decree.4 Objectors from Jewish
U K R AINE                                          or majority faiths, or who were not religious, had
                                                    no alternative to compulsory military service.
Ukraine                                                 In November 2006 the UN Human Rights
                                                    Committee considered Ukraine’s sixth report
Population: 46.5 million (9.1 million under 18)     on its implementation of the International
Government armed forces: 187,600                    Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and
Compulsory recruitment age: 18                      noted that the right to conscientious objection
Voluntary recruitment age: 19                       against mandatory military service should be
Voting age: 18                                      fully respected, for those of all religions as
Optional Protocol: ratified 11 July 2005            well as non-religious conscientious objectors.
Other treaties ratified (see glossary):             The Committee also noted that new recruits in
                                                    the armed forces were still subject to hazing
CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182
                                                    – systematic abuse and humiliation by longer-
Orphans and the children of military                serving or senior soldiers which sometimes
                                                    involved acts of considerable violence. One
personnel could be given intensive                  recruit in Zhytomyr region had died as a result
preparation for military careers from the           of hazing in January 2005. The Committee
age of 15, and 17-year-olds could enrol in a        urged Ukraine to ensure that hazing stopped,
higher military education institution.              by adopting disciplinary measures against
                                                    the soldiers responsible and facilitating the
                                                    intervention of independent monitors such as the
Context                                             Ombudsman.5
In April 2005 Ukraine launched an intensified       Military training and military schools
dialogue with NATO but extensive military reform
was necessary before it could enter into full       Young people could enrol for training in a
NATO membership. In a 2006 defence policy           higher military education institution between
paper, Ukraine outlined plans for transition to a   the ages of 17 and 21.6 Potential officers could
non-conscript army by 2010, as well as improving    enrol between the ages of 18 and 23. In 2005
social benefits for troops and modernizing          the Ministry of Defence announced the closure
equipment.1                                         of 23 higher military schools by 2009, among
    Amendments to the Criminal Code in January      them the Mikolaiv Military Motor College and
2006 brought Ukraine closer in line with the        the Vasilkiv Air Force College.7 All higher military
Optional Protocol. Imprisonment of up to 12 years   education for ground troops was in future to be
was introduced for the use of trafficked children   concentrated in one national university at Lviv.
in an armed conflict, the same offence being        Among reasons given for the closures were falling
punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment if       enrolments and students’ need for vocational
committed by an organized gang (Article 149).       skills which they could transfer to civilian life.8
                                                        At least one secondary-school offered two
                                                    years’ intensive military preparation from the age
Government                                          of 15, specifically for orphans and the children
                                                    of military personnel. The orphans’ secondary-
National recruitment legislation and                school in the Crimean town of Alushta reported
practice                                            that in 2004, 90 per cent of its former students
An amendment to the 1999 Law on Military Duty       had gone on to a career in the armed forces.9
and Military Service, adopted in March 2005,
reduced the conscription pool. Previously, men      Developments
between the ages of 18 and 27 were liable for
conscription, but the new law set an upper age      In October 2007 Ukraine endorsed the Paris
limit of 25 years. It also reduced the length of    Commitments to protect children from unlawful
service for conscripts: from 24 months to 18 in     recruitment or use by armed forces or armed
the navy, and from 18 months to 12 in the army      groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines
and air force, with university graduates serving    on children associated with armed forces or
nine months and junior commanders three.            armed groups. The two documents, which were
    Voluntary contracts in the armed forces of up   previously endorsed by 59 states at a February
to three years were available to men and women      2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, reaffirmed
between the ages of 19 and 30.2                     international standards and operational
    There was no reduction in the length of         principles for the protection of and assistance to
alternative service for conscientious objectors,    child soldiers, following a wide-ranging global
which remained punitive at 27 months.3 A list of    consultation jointly sponsored by the French
ten minority religious groups whose members         government and UNICEF.
were eligible to apply had been specified in a

                                                    CHILD SOLDIERS GLOBAL REPORT 2008
International standards
In July 2005 Ukraine ratified the Optional
Protocol, stating in its declaration that 19 was the
minimum age for voluntary enlistment.10

1 Ministry of Defence, White Book 2006: Defence
   Policy of Ukraine,
2 Ministry of Defence, Professional Army,
   Conditions of acceptance on service on contract
3 1999 Law on Alternative Service, No. 3108
   15, as amended on 17 November 2005, cited
   in Conscience and Peace Tax International,
   Submission to UN Human Rights Committee, 22
   June 2006,
   docs/ngos/CPTI.pdf; Marc Stolwijk, The Right
   to Conscientious Objection in Europe: A Review
   of the Current Situation, Quaker Council for
   European Affairs, April 2005, http://www.quaker.
4 Cabinet of Ministers Decree No. 2066/199.
5 UN Human Rights Committee, Consideration of
   sixth report submitted by Ukraine, Concluding
   observations, UN Doc. CCPR/C/UKR/CO/6, 28
   November 2006.
6 Ministry of Defence, above note 2, Military
7 Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 381 of 26 May
8 Kiev National University “Enlightment” website,; Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 15
   December 2006,
9 Crimean Ministry of Education and Science,
10 Declaration on accession to the Optional


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