Military enlistment offices ordered to draft "Young Front" activists at any cost
At the beginning of the spring draft campaign Pavel Siarhei, who had
been expelled from Maladzechna
College after serving an
arrest term, started receiving summons to the military enlistment office.
Despite the health problems, at which he pointed during the medical
examination, he was told that he would serve in the army, as there was a
special order about him.
Several days ago Pavel Siarhei submitted to the Maladechna military enlistment office an application for alternative civilian service, as his religious believes don't allow him "wear military uniform and serve in the army among Communist symbols (hammer and sickle) under which Christians were persecuted in the USSR". He also submitted a copy of the application to the Maladzechna City Executive Committee (as the head of the committee also heads the draft board) and received an answer that a decision would be taken by the draft board at 2.30 p.m. on 10 May.
Pavel Siarhei's friend Mikhail Muski, expelled from the Belarusian National Technical University, applied for alternative civilian service as well. At the Niasvizh District Military Enlistment Office he was also told that he would be drafted in any situation. At present his situation is even more complicated as he is serving a 15-day arrest term for participation in the "Chernobyl Way" street rally. On 2 May he received an answer, signed by the commissioner of the Niasvizh DMEO, lieutenant-colonel Marozau. He was denied to be assigned to alternative civilian service. The formulation of the grounds for the refusal is quite interesting: "Article 57 of the Constitution stipulates that the protection of the Republic of Belarus is a sacred duty to its citizens. Procedure governing military service, the grounds and conditions for exemption from military service, or its replacement with an alternative is determined by the law, but the mechanism for realizing the right to alternative service has not been developed. This problem is solved at the state level. Thus, your right to alternative civilian service can not be realized... "
At the same time, while serving the arrest Mikail Muski was guarded to the Niasvizh DMEO, where an extraordinary sitting of the draft board was held. He demanded the realization of his constitutional rights as well. However, the draft board decided that the activist was to be sent to the railway troops, either in Zhodzina or in Slutsk.
In accordance with the Law "On Military Duty and Military Service," the decision of the draft board may be appealed to the regional military enlistment office or in court. However, the draft board refused to issue this decision to Mikhail Muski, in violation of the law, and promised to send it by mail. The military enlistment office still hasn't mailed the decision of the draft board to the prisoner. The arrest term ends in the evening of 11 May. The day of sending to the army is 15 May. Thus, the activist's ability to appeal against this decision is considerably restricted.
We should note that Pavel Siarhei and Mikhail Muski ground their demands for for alternative civilian service with references to the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus of 26 May 2000 (N P-98/2000) "On some issues of implementation of Article 57 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus":
"<...> Article 57 of the Constitution stipulates that the protection of the Republic of Belarus is a sacred duty to its citizens. The regime of military service, the grounds and conditions for exemption from military service, or its replacement with an alternative determined by law.
Thus, the Constitution does not consider military service as the sole and unconditional, because it allows for the possibility of exemption from military service, or its replacement with alternative service.
This means that the sacred duty of a citizen of the Republic of Belarus to defend the Motherland corresponds to the essence of his right to the performance of this obligation and duty in the forms defined by the Constitution, including through alternative service. <...>
<...> The current version of the Constitution contains no provision which allow the Parliament at the legislative level to delay the implementation of the provisions of Article 57 of the Constitution concerning the performance of military service by alternative service. "
Also, applicants reminded that in accordance with Article 59 of the Constitution the State shall take all available measures to create domestic and international legal standards necessary for the full realization of rights and freedoms of citizens of the Republic of Belarus, under the Constitution. State bodies, officials and other persons who have been entrusted to exercise state functions shall take the necessary measures to implement and protect the rights and freedoms. These bodies and persons are responsible for actions that violate individual rights and freedoms.