The Government approved a draft Act today, which provides the option to begin restricting the validity and issuance of permits and licenses to individuals dodging their national defence obligation.
The Defence Forces and the Defence Resources Agency will be able to begin requesting that courts suspend an individual’s right to drive, their right to navigate recreational craft and personal watercraft, their weapons permit, acquisition permit, fishing card and hunting right, or the issuance thereof. In each specific case, the final decision will be made by an administrative court.
The application of restrictive measures will be requested in a case where an individual continues to dodge the performance of their national defence obligation, regardless of the warnings issued and repeated conscript notices sent.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik stated that the goal of the draft Act is to reduce the number of individuals evading their national defence obligation, in order that national defence priorities are met.
‘In a small country such as Estonia, the reserve army plays a critical role, and failure to fulfil one’s national defence obligation is not a laughing matter. It is an obligation, the fulfilment of which must be taken seriously,’ said Luik.
When applying the new measures, the Ministry of Defence followed the experience of Finland, where the issuance of travel documents is restricted in the case of persons liable to national defence obligation who refuse to enter conscript or alternative service. In Finland, draft dodgers are punished with imprisonment or house arrest.
Last year, 17% of the individuals sent a call-up notice by a medical committee failed to appear before that committee. Due to a failure to appear before the medical committee, the Defence Resources Agency issued 1031 penalty payment claims to 710 individuals, of which only 78 later appeared before the medical committee.
In 2017, 3396 individuals began completing compulsory conscript service, of which 34 were women. A total of 244 call-up selectees failed to appear for conscript service.
In 2017, 2768 reservists completed conscript service and were assigned wartime posts. A total of 632 conscripts were released prematurely from service, with 603 being released due to the state of their health.
In 2017 the plan was to invite 3461 reservists to participate in reservist trainings, with the possibility for 400 volunteers to take part. Nearly 70% of the planned participants took part in the reservist training, in addition to 316 volunteers. A total of 22% of invitations to participate in reservist training failed to reach addressees, and 20% of those invited failed to report to reservist training.
A report on the performance of the national defence obligation and organisation of military service in 2017 in Estonian can be found at here (PDF).
Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee