ARMENIA: Alternative Service Law Likely to be Adopted

by Felix Corley, Keston News Service, 6 February 2001

Although Armenia is committed under its Council of Europe obligations to adopting an alternative service law within three years, Armenian government officials declare that the law is likely to be adopted within the next year and a half.

Gayane Abrahamian, spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry. told Keston News Service from Yerevan that the government is working `very intensively' on the draft, while Artak Ghazarian, spokesman for the parliament in Yerevan, told Keston that a working group has already been formed in parliament. `The bill will be debated in parliament before the end of this year,' he reported, `and will be adopted by early next year,' Ghazarian announced. Asked what would happen if deputies refuse to adopt it, he responded: `They will.'

The defence ministry, which previously opposed any alternative service law, has now changed its mind. Defence minister Serj Sarkisian told a Yerevan press conference on 29 January that the law will be adopted by next year, adding that the `main clauses' have already been worked out. (END)