Romania: Whether reductions in military strength have had an impact on conscription and whether military service evaders or deserters are still sought to enforce service obligations
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||17 August 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ROM37592.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Romania: Whether reductions in military strength have had an impact on conscription and whether military service evaders or deserters are still sought to enforce service obligations, 17 August 2001, ROM37592.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be9c24.html [accessed 18 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
The following information is provided in a translation of a 9 July 2001 letter from a Senior Legal Counsel of the Romania's Ministry of National Defence. The Romanian version was received from the Office of the Defence, Military and Air Attaché at the Embassy of Romania, in Ottawa.
The objective of military reform is to create a modern armed force of adequate size which is flexible and mobile and to restructure and equip the armed forces in order to attain compatibility with NATO.
Restructuring the armed forces aims to create "pyramidal" organizational structures based on well-defined principles which are grounded in a change in status of armed forces staff and in the professional development of military personnel, and not in aspects related to order and discipline or offences committed by armed forces staff or by personnel in compulsory service.
In order to avoid confusion, certain clarifications are necessary:
- In accordance with Art. 22 of Emergency Order no. 14/2001 (published in the Official Gazette, no. 65/2001) regarding the organization and operation of the Ministry of National Defence, armed forces or military personnel refers only to armed forces staff and civilian employees working within the Ministry of National Defence.
Therefore, the offences stipulated and sanctioned in the Criminal Code regarding recruitment (Art. 348 - avoiding military service; Art. 353 - avoiding conscription; Art. 354 - not present for conscription or recall) do not apply to the armed forces personnel.
These offences concern exclusively "Romanian citizens, men aged 20 or over" (Art. 52 of the Constitution of Romania), who are under obligation (with the exceptions stipulated under Act 46/1996 regarding the preparation of the population for defence, Arts. 4, 6, 21) to do compulsory military service and who, on the basis of Art. 10 of Act 46/1996 regarding the preparation of the population for defence are considered "recruits", or in accordance with Art. 3 of the same Act are regular-term servicemen, servicemen with reduced duration of service, or reserve members called to active duty or mobilized;
- the offence of "desertion" (offence stipulated and sanctioned in Art. 332 of the Criminal Code) is applicable to "any member of the armed forces" absent without reason from his military unit or duty for more than 3 days; the sanctions are applicable to personnel fulfilling obligatory service (Act. 46/1996) as well as to armed forces staff (Act 80/1995 regarding the status of the armed forces staff).
The following information was provided by the Secretary General of the Cluj Napoca-based Coalition for Alternative Civil Service, in 16 June 2001 correspondence. The Coalition for Alternative Service is a network of Romanian NGOs that are committed to advancement of the conscientious objection to military service in Romania and was referred to the Research Directorate by the European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors (EBCO) in Brussels.
On whether reductions in military strength has had an impact on conscription and whether military service evaders or deserters are still sought to enforce service obligations, the Secretary General stated that:
The reform process started in the military institutions two years ago, and is a gradual process. The first steps were to reduce the number of high officers and [to] demilitarise the institution of the Ministry of Defence, and this [process should be completed by] the end of 2003. Also this step includes a reduction of the number of soldiers from 150,000 to 112,000 soldiers and 28,000 civilians. This process will end at the end of 2005. It is foreseen to increase the number of professional soldiers from 47% up to 71%.
According to the law 46/1996 regarding the Preparation of the population for defence the penalties undergo to the Penal Code. If the evader wasn't caught and he wasn't convicted he is still under the regulation of the Penal Code, and he is sought by the military.
No further information on whether draft evaders and deserters are in practice being sought by the Romanian authorities could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Coalition for Alternative Civil Service, Cluj Napoca, Romania. 16 June 2001. Correspondence with Secretary General.
Romania. Ministry of National Defence, Bucharest. 9 July 2001. Letter from a Senior Legal Counsel. [Public Works and Government Services Canada. Certified True Translation]
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sources including:
European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors (EBCO)
World News Connection (WNC)