Babruisk programmer keeps crying for right to alternative service
Aleh Yauzrezau, a 22-year-old programmer from the town of Babruisk, is going to make a desperate venture to secure his right to alternative service, after his claims were dismissed by local military conscription commission and later by a court.
“Both the conscription commission and the court refer to the lack of legislation to provide for the opportunity to perform alternative civilian service. However, the Constitution guarantees the right, which is what both I and my lawyer made use of,” says Aleh Yauzrezau.
Article 57 of the Belarusian Constitution states that “the procedure regulating military service, grounds and conditions for exemption from military service or its substitution by alternative service shall be determined by law.” In reality, it is the absence of such a law that has been the key obstacle to conscientious objectors. Over the past month, Belarusian courts have heard four cases related to alternative service. All of them turned out to be fruitless for the conscripts.
“I consider myself a pacifist and therefore I cannot join the army. I could work in a hospital or in any other job where my help might be needed. Now, I am going to appeal the latest ruling by Babruisk court at Mahiliou Regional Court and I hope that, basing itself upon the Constitution, the court will grant my appeal,” says the conscientious objector.
Aleh Yauzrezau says he also hopes to obtain draft determent, so that he could wait until a law on alternative service is adopted.
A draft law on alternative service was submitted to the Parliament back in 2004. However, it was rejected, as it could reportedly endanger the national security of Belarus. The bill was then recommitted and has not been considered since then.