Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2017, 11:43 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Moldova

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Moldova, 2004, available at: [accessed 20 October 2017]
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.

Republic of Moldova

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 4.3 million (1.2 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 6,910
Compulsory recruitment age: 18
Voluntary recruitment age: 17 (for officer trainees)
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: Ratified 7 April 2004
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182

Officer trainees were admitted to military training at the age of 17. In the self-proclaimed republic in Transdniestr the minimum age of conscription was 18 but could be lowered to 16 in the event of mobilization.


Moldova is the poorest country in Europe with close to 80 per cent of its population living below the poverty line. Many criminal suspects in police detention were reportedly ill-treated, and in some cases tortured, in order to extract confessions. Victims often included children.1 The political status of Transdniestr2 remained unresolved, a decade after it declared its independence, and political negotiations remained slow.3 Russian military forces in the Transdniestr failed to meet a deadline set by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for their complete withdrawal by 31 December 2003.4


National recruitment legislation and practice

In February 2004 parliament approved ratification of the Optional Protocol and confirmed that the minimum age for "full term military service" was 18 when it approved Law No.15-XV.3.5

Under the 1994 constitution, "Defence of the motherland ... is the right and sacred duty of every citizen" (Article 57).6 The armed forces consist primarily of conscripted personnel.7 Registration for conscription starts when boys reach 16.8 Under Law 1245-XV of 2002 the minimum age for conscription is 18 years and military service is full term (12 months) or short term (3 months) for higher education graduates. Military service is carried out exclusively in the national armed forces and not in government paramilitary formations. Exemptions are allowed in specified circumstances. Conscientious objectors undertake alternative civil service for 24 months in state institutions and special units, in accordance with the Law on Alternative Service, No. 534-XIV of 1999.9

Law No. 1245-XV of July 2002, on "the training of citizens for the defence of the motherland", contains no definition of voluntary recruitment.10 The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the minimum voluntary recruitment age was 18, but did not clarify the legal basis for it.11 The minimum entrance age for the Alexandru cel Bun Military Institute of the Armed Forces is 17, although participation in hostilities is not permitted until the age of 18. The Institute trains officers for the armed forces and government paramilitary forces.12

Military training and military schools

Military-patriotic training courses are provided in secondary schools, but, because of lack of financial support and teaching staff, do not include practical training.13 The Moldovan mission to the UN said that there were no youth organizations with a military orientation in Moldova.14


Transdniestr has its own laws, political structures and administration, but remains unrecognized internationally as a state. Its armed forces have up to 5,000 troops and 14,000 reserves, and the administration funds a number of unregulated Cossack paramilitary units.15

The constitution of the self-proclaimed republic states that "Defence of the Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica is a sacred duty for everybody" (Article 48).16 The Law on Universal Military Service of 2000 requires men over the age of 18 to undertake military service for 18 months. Voluntary officer training may start at the age of 17 and general voluntary contractual service at 19. In the event of mobilization, the minimum age for military service is 16. Boys of 16 may volunteer for basic military training organized by the administration in schools and training centres, or within patriotic "public youth organizations". According to the self-proclaimed republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are no explicitly military youth organizations.17

1 Amnesty International Reports 2002, 2003 and 2004,

2 "Transdniestr" is the term used by the Moldovan authorities, who do not recognize the self-styled Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR).

3 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Armed Conflict Database (subscribers only).

4 Correspondence with OSCE, Moldova, 8 March 2004.

5 Correspondence with Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2004.

6 Constitution, at Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, (Coalition translation).

7 IISS, The Military Balance 2003-2004, Oxford University Press, October 2003.

8 Child Soldiers Coalition interview and correspondence with Moldovan military representative to the UN, New York, 8 March 2004.

9 Law 1245-XV, translated and supplied to Child Soldiers Coalition by Laws and Treaties Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Child Soldiers Coalition interview with Moldovan mission to NATO, 25 February 2004; Confidential source, March 2004.

10 Law 1245-XV, op. cit.; Moldovan military representative to the UN, op. cit.

11 Ministry of Defence in communication to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 2004.

12 Correspondence Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 March 2004; Initial report of Moldova to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/28/Add.19, 3 May 2002,; Confidential source, op. cit.

13 Correspondence with Laws and Treaties Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 March 2004; Confidential source, op. cit.

14 Moldovan military representative to the UN, op. cit.

15 Correspondence with OSCE, op. cit.; IISS, The Military Balance 2003-2004, op. cit.

16 Constitution, at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PMR,

17 Law on Universal Military Service (in Russian), supplied to Child Soldiers Coalition by PMR Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Correspondence with the Ministry, 8 March 2004.

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