Government law provides for alternative service during mobilization
The government bill provides for an opportunity for alternative service during mobilization, as well as a deferral from the conscription for priests.
Such legislative innovations are proposed in Bill 6564, presented by the Cabinet of Ministers to Parliament on June 8, the Institute of Religious Freedom reports.
“The citizens who, on the grounds of religious beliefs, are not eligible for military service and are not entitled to deferment from conscription for military service during the military draft, can enlist to alternative (non-military) service in accordance with the procedure established by law, if necessary,” states p.4 Article 8 of the draft.
In addition, Article 9 of the Bill stipulates that a deferment from the call for military service during mobilization shall be granted to citizens who are clergymen that graduated from higher or secondary theological educational institutions and hold positions in religious organizations operating under the statute (regulations) registered in compliance with the established procedure, during the performance of the duties of a clergyman (such persons may be called up for military service with their consent).
This provision is similar to the provisions of Article 17, paragraph 13, of the Law of Ukraine “On Military Duty and Military Service”, which for the moment provides for a deferral from the call for a regular military service to continue professional activities.
It is worth noting that the proposed amendments to Bill 6564 take into account the recommendations prepared by the Institute of Religious Freedom after numerous lawsuits and criminal prosecutions against believers. Representatives of various Churches and religious organizations also expressed support for the mentioned amendments to the current legislation.
As reported by the IRS, in November 2014, the court of Novomoskovsk freed from charges the believer and confirmed his right to alternative service. In response to a complaint from the prosecutor's office, Dnipropetrovsk Regional Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal and recognized the illegality of the prosecution of believers in these circumstances. In reviewing this case, the High Specialized Court of Ukraine confirmed the right of believers to alternative service through religious convictions, even during mobilization.
Kharkiv District Administrative Court fully upheld the claim of the believer, which the military commissariat mobilized to the army, despite his request for alternative service.
Earlier, the Institute of Religious Freedom published a consultation on mobilization training and a call for military gatherings of religious citizens.