Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017, 11:55 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Moldova

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Moldova, 20 May 2008, available at: [accessed 14 December 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.

Population: 4.2 million (1.0 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 6,800
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 17, training only
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 7 April 2004
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182

Officer trainees entering military training at 17 were required to sign a military service contract at 18 to be fulfilled on completing their education at 23.


Security was a major concern. The status of the territory of Transdniestr remained unresolved. It controlled Moldova's main energy sources and hosted Russian Federation troops that had defied international commitments to withdraw by 1999. People and trade passed unregulated through its long border with Ukraine, although security improved after Ukraine introduced a customs mechanism in 2006. Isolated armed skirmishes between Moldova and Transdniestr were reported at ports and installations in 2007.


National recruitment legislation and practice

All male citizens, including men with dual citizenship, had to register for conscription with their local military authority at the age of 16, at which time they acquired the status of recruits. Between 18 and 27 they were liable for conscription.1 The term of service was 12 months, three for conscripts with higher education.2 Alternative civilian service of 24 months was available for conscientious objectors.3 In the event of war, all young people could be mobilized as soon as they were 18.

The Law on the Status of People doing Military Service regulated the situation of non-conscript soldiers. Contracts of up to five years' service were open to all 18-year-old citizens (people with dual citizenship were ineligible).

Troops were forbidden to obey unlawful orders that contravened international humanitarian law or Moldova's international treaty obligations.4 Such contraventions could incur imprisonment of between 16 and 25 years under an amendment to the 2002 Criminal Code (Article 391).

Other amendments to the Criminal Code brought Moldova more closely into line with the Optional Protocol. The use of trafficked children in armed conflict was made punishable by between ten and 25 years' imprisonment (Article 206), and knowingly taking a child hostage was punishable by between 12 and 20 years' imprisonment (Article 280).

Military training and military schools

Military education was available to young people who were citizens of Moldova and not doing military service. Under the Law on the Status of People doing Military Service, those who entered a Military Education Institute at 17 were required to sign a military service contract at 18, which they carried out on completing their course of education at 23. Students who were expelled from a military institute for academic or disciplinary shortcomings were to be immediately conscripted, whatever their age (Article 29).


International standards

Moldova ratified the Optional Protocol in April 2004. Its declaration stated that the minimum age for conscription was 18 but made no explicit statement with regard to voluntary enlistment.5


The self-proclaimed state had its own laws and structures, but was not internationally recognized. In 2007 Transdniestr had 7,500 men doing military service in its border guards or internal forces controlled by its Interior Ministry and State Security Committee. It also had an armed People's Guard which foreign volunteers could join.

According to Transdniestr's 2005 conscription law, male residents were liable to call-up between 18 and 27 years, and those with a higher education up to the age of 30. Conscription was for 18 months, 12 for men with higher education. Professional contracts were also open to volunteers aged 18 and over, including foreigners. In time of war, soldiers were to be mobilized from the reserve.

In the second half of 2006 only 22 per cent of the conscription quota was met, according to local reports.6 Many recruits failed medical requirements, and others reportedly migrated to Ukraine or elsewhere in Moldova where conscription terms were shorter.

1 Law on the Status of People doing Military Service, No. 162-XVI, 22 July 2005, Article 38(1).

2 Law on the Training of Citizens for the Defence of the Motherland, No. 1245-XV of 2002.

3 Law on Alternative Service, No. 534-XIV of 1999.

4 Law on the Status of People doing Military Service, above note 1, Article 37.

5 Declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol,

6 website, 23 March 2007,

Search Refworld