Kyrgyz Republic

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 5.1 million (2.0 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 10,900
Compulsory recruitment age: 18
Voluntary recruitment age: 17 (for military training)
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: acceded 13 August 2003
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182

Kyrgyzstan set the minimum voluntary recruitment age at 18 but 17-year-old trainees were apparently considered to be on active military service. The law provided for 16 year olds to be called for military service in an emergency.


Detentions of suspected members of banned Islamist organizations increased and ethnic tensions intensified following heightened security measures in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA. Members of the opposition and independent journalists faced harassment, repression, detention and politically motivated imprisonment. In May 2002, following the government's resignation, a Council for Constitutional Reforms was established and a people's rights defender (Ombudsman) was elected in November that year. A moratorium on the death penalty in place since 1998 was extended to the end of 2004.1


National recruitment legislation

On acceding to the Optional Protocol in August 2003, Kyrgyzstan declared that "the minimum age for recruitment of its citizens (men) to ... active military service is limited by the age of 18 years".2 However, under the Law on the Universal Military Duty of the Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, as amended in December 2003, boys may volunteer for military schools from the age of 17 and, as cadets, are on active military duty (Article 11).3 In a national emergency, those aged over 16 are considered eligible for military service under the 1998 Law on Mobilization Preparation and Mobilization in the Kyrgyz Republic (Article 20), and all members of the armed forces will be put on standby, under the Law on Universal Military Duty (Article 108).4

The constitution provides for conscription: "Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic have the right and duty to defend the country.... The grounds and procedure of exemption from military service or its replacement by alternative service are established by law" (Article 24).5 Under the Law on the Universal Military Duty, all males between the ages of 18 and 27 are liable for military service for 18 months, or 12 months for those with higher education.6 Parliament approved a draft law in late 2002 to shorten the term of service to 12 months and offer conscripts the possibility of paying not to be enlisted, but the government opposed the move and the law was not enacted.7

Exemptions from conscription are allowed in specified cases.8 The Law on Alternative (Non-Military) Service was signed into law in June 2002. It provides for 24 months' service, or 18 months for higher education graduates, for conscripts who oppose military service on religious grounds or whose family status or health condition are not conducive to military service. Alternative service is carried out in enterprises and state emergency bodies such as disaster relief.9

There is no explicit law on voluntary military service.

Military training and military schools

The Law on the Universal Military Duty provides for boys to receive pre-conscription training, including physical training and technical skills, before they are called up for military service (Articles 17 to 23). This pre-conscription training is available in schools and in professional and higher educational establishments (Article 19).10 In schools, boys in the final two years of secondary education may take a course entitled "elementary military training", which includes weapons handling, shooting exercises, military theory and aspects of civil defence.11

There are two military schools for officer cadets, the Kyrgyz State National Military Lycée, which admits boys from the age of 16, and Bishkek Higher Military School, for "young people with a military inclination".12

1 Amnesty International Reports 2002, 2003, and 2004,; Information from Amnesty International, August 2004.

2 Declarations and reservations to the Optional Protocol, (subscription required).

3 Law on the Universal Military Duty of the Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, 2003; Correspondence with Anita Trimaylova, Uzbekistan. For the 2002 version of the Law (in Russian) see Ministry of Defence,

4 Zakon o mobilizatsionnoi podgotovke i mobilizatsii v Kyrgyzskoi Respublike (Law on Mobilization Preparation and Mobilization in the Kyrgyz Republic) (in Russian), at Ministry of Defence,

5 Constitution (in Russian), at website of the President, (Coalition translation).

6 Law on the Universal Military Duty, Article 13 (in 2002 version), op. cit.

7 Bishkek Kyrgyz Radio One (in Russian), 4 December 2002, reported by BBC Monitoring Service; Prima News Agency, "Kyrgyz president not to let conscripts buy their way out of military service", 27 December 2002,; Child Soldiers Coalition interview with Kyrgyz embassy, London, 5 March 2004.

8 Law on the Universal Military Duty, 2003, op. cit.

9 Zakon ob al'ternativnoi (vnevoiskovoi) sluzhbe (Law on Alternative (Non-Military) Service) (in Russian), June 2002, at Ministry of Defence,

10 Law on the Universal Military Duty, 2003, op. cit.

11 Information from Akipress News Agency, Kyrgyzstan, January 2004.

12 Voennoe obrazovanie (Military Education) (in Russian), Ministry of Defence,


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