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Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Czech Republic

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Czech Republic, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb0f9c.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 10.2 million (1.9 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 24,800
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18 (conscription phased out by 2005)
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 30 November 2001
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182


There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces.

Government:

National recruitment legislation and practice

Conscription ended in December 2004, with the last conscripts due to leave the Czech army that month.1 As of 1 January 2005, compulsory recruitment would only occur in a state of "national danger" or war.2 All men between the ages of 18 and 28 had previously been liable for compulsory military service.3 Men and women who were at least 18 could volunteer for military service under the terms of Act 221/1999 on Regular Soldiers. Act 585/2004 allowed those over 18 to volunteer for the Active Reserve.4

The government reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2005 that the state's security was ensured by the armed forces and security corps, that no member of these forces could be under 18 years old, and that this age limit could not be lowered in any crisis situations.5

Military training and military schools

Some military secondary schools were downsized and stopped admitting new pupils in the academic year 2003-4; these were the school in Vyskov which trained specialists for the artillery and engineer corps, the school in Brno which provided warrant officer training and the Military Conservatory for military musicians.6 The schools in Vyskov and in Brno closed in 2006 and the Military Conservatory was due to close by the end of August 2008. The military education system currently comprised the Military High School and High Technical School of the Ministry of Defence at Moravska Trebova, the University of Defence in Brno, and the Educational and Training Centre of the Ministry of Defence at Komorni Hradek.7

The minimum age for enrolment in a military secondary-school was 15. The government reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2005 that under-18s could enter military secondary-schools, and that they provided four years of general education and "education and training for duties on the warrant officer level, training for a chosen specialization, as well as full secondary vocational and technical education". The government also reported that "Students entering military schools are not soldiers and do not become soldiers in the course of study. This rule would continue to apply in crisis situations: teachers-soldiers would be detailed to other duties and the schools temporarily closed down. Military school graduates do not incur any financial or other obligations towards the armed forces. There is no pressure on the students to apply for regular army jobs."8

Developments:

In its Concluding Observations on the government's initial report on the Optional Protocol, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the provisions in the draft Criminal Code be strengthened so that the criminalization of the recruitment of children in armed forces is not limited to recruitment in times of war or armed conflict. The Committee further recommended that the involvement of children in hostilities be explicitly made a crime subject to the principle of universality.9

At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, the Czech Republic and 58 other states endorsed the Paris Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups. The documents reaffirmed international standards and operational principles for protecting and assisting child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.

International standards

The Czech Republic ratified the ILO Minimum Age Convention 138 in April 2007.


1 "Bill brings end to nearly 140 years of compulsory military service", Radio Prague, 24 September 2004, www.radio.cz.

2 Initial report of the Czech Republic to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Optional Protocol, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/CZE/1, 15 August 2005.

3 Bart Horeman and Marc Stolwijk, Refusing to Bear Arms: A world survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service, War Resisters International, 1998, www.wri-irg.org.

4 Information from the embassy of the Czech Republic in the UK, 28 June 2007.

5 Initial report, above note 2.

6 Ibid.

7 Ministry of Defence, Military Education, www.army.cz.

8 Initial report, above note 2.

9 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by the Czech Republic, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/CZE/CO/1, 21 June 2006.

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