Informe sobre el país: Lithuania

Ultima revisión: 22 Sep 2009
22 Sep 2009


  • Lithuania does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.

  • Should conscription again be
    enforced, a genuinely civilian substitute service for conscientious
    objectors will not be available.

Military recruitment


Conscription is enshrined in Article
139 of the 1992 Constitution, which says: “Citizens of the
Republic of Lithuania must perform military or alternative national
defence service according to the procedure established by law
It is further regulated by the 1996 Law on National Conscription

On 13 March 2008, the Lithuanian
Parliament passed a new law “On the Principles of Organisation of
the Lithuanian Armed Forces”, which provides for parliament to
set the number of conscripts to be recruited on a year by year bases,
with the aim to suspend conscription (a 'zero' quota)2.
On 26 March 2008, Parliament asked the Constitutional Court to
investigate whether this is constitutional, and the Constitutional
Court decided on 3 April 2009 that this procedure does not conflict
with the Lithuanian constitution3.

Conscription has in fact been
suspended on 15 September 2008. The last conscripts left the
Lithuanian Armed Forces on 1 July 20094.

For those called up before 15
September 2008, the length of military service was 12 months, and 6
months for university and college graduates.

All men between the ages of 19 and
26 are liable for military service, should conscription be enforced.
Reservist obligations apply up to the age of 35.

All male citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, upon reaching 16 years of age, enter in a military
register at the local territorial military office and are issued a draftee’s certificate.

According to the announcement on the
suspension of conscription, no medical examination of those
registered will take place. It can therefore be assumed that
potential draftees, upon reaching 19 years of age, no longer have to
appear at a local territorial military office within a 45-day period,
which starts 30 days prior to the draftee’s 19th birthday
and ends 15 days after the birthday5.

The number of young men being
drafted into the military was already going down. In 2007, only 2,738
men joined the military as conscripts (compared to a total strength
of 7,170 professional soldiers)6.
This number was to go down to only 2,000 by 20117.
The announcement of 15 September 2008 brought the suspension of
conscription forward.

Professional soldiers

Pursuant to legislation of the Republic of Lithuania only citizens of the
Republic of Lithuania who have attained the age of 18 can be
voluntarily accepted into active military service8.

to website of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, all Lithuanian citizens
under the age of 35 who did not stand trial in the past can join the
Armed Forces. The initial service period is four years, but can be

There is also the option to join as part-time volunteers. During the course of
service volunteers master a military profession, are sent to
exercises and international missions. Volunteers annually spent the
average of 20 days and nights on exercise10.

Conscientious objection

Conscientious objection for conscripts

As conscription has only been suspended, the laws governing conscription and conscientious
objection are still in place, should conscription again be enforced.

The right to conscientious objection
is enshrined in Article 139 of the constitution. Article 4, paragraph
3, of the Law on National Conscription governs substitute service for
those who do not wish to bear arms on the grounds of religious or
pacifist beliefs. However, the scope of the accepted beliefs is
unclear, and the United Nation Human Rights Committee repeatedly
asked for clarification on the matter11.

According to the available
information, a special commission composed of representatives of the
military, doctors and priests decided on applications for
conscientious objection and appropriate “alternative military
” before the suspension of conscription. The phrasing
“alternative military service” makes it doubtful that this
substitute service was a genuine civilian substitute service.

The Law on National Conscription does not specify if there are time limits for submitting CO
applications. However, the absence of clear legal provisions implies
that serving conscripts and reservists cannot apply for CO status.
Moreover, the Lithuanian government has stated in the past that
applications can only be made before starting military service12.

Lithuanian representatives declared
at the meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2004:
However, new draft regulations were being prepared which would
make it possible to do alternative service outside the framework of
the national defence system
If these new regulations have in fact been passed, and what they
include, is presently not known.

According to Article 23 paragraph 2
of the Law on National Conscription, the length of substitute service
is 18 months. This is one and a half times the length of military
service. In practice, substitute service is not organised and only an
unarmed military service within the armed forces is available14.

In 2006 and in 2007, the US State
Department reported that “conscientious objectors may petition
for alternative military service within military structures, but
there is no option for alternative non-military service, despite
requests by members of Jehovah's Witnesses. Persons enrolled in
alternative military service must follow military regulations and
reside on military installations. They receive assignments to work in
nonviolent military roles, such as grounds maintenance, or can work
as unskilled labourers in government health or social care
These reports make it appear unlikely that any new regulations have
been passed, or if so, then that these new regulations led to
substantial changes.

Ms. Milašiūte, a member of the
Lithuanian delegation to the UN Human Rights Committee session in
March 2004, “noted that there had been one recent case in which
two Jehovah’s Witnesses, after being denied the right to perform
alternative service, had appealed to the courts and won their case

Conscientious objection for professional soldiers

Lithuania does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for
professional soldiers17.

Draft evasion and desertion

Draft evasion and desertion are
punishable under the criminal code18.

Evasion of the regular draft or alternative (labour) service is punishable by up to two years'
imprisonment; up to five years' if a conscript deliberately injures
himself, fakes illness, forges documents or avoids performing his
duty in any other way. (article 79)

Evasion of the mobilisation draft for national defence service is punishable by two to five years'
imprisonment. (article 80)

In June 1993 parliament amended the
criminal code, increasing fines for ignoring call-up notices to 80
Litas and increasing the penalty for repeat offenders to up to a
year's imprisonment19.

No information on practice is available.


of the Republic of Lithuania,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania: Decision, 3 April
accessed 22 September 2009

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania: Decision, 3 April
accessed 22 September 2009

of National Defence: Compulsory basic military service discontinued,
15 September 2009,,
accessed 22 September 2009

CONFLICTS, 2000, Approved by Resolution No. 435 of the Government of
the Republic of Lithuania of 9 May 2006,$FILE/G0642912.DOC,
accessed 30 April 2008

of Defence: Personnel size in 1998-2008,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Paper Lithuanian defence policy 2006,,
accessed 30 April 2008

CONFLICTS, 2000, Approved by Resolution No. 435 of the Government of
the Republic of Lithuania of 9 May 2006,$FILE/G0642912.DOC,
accessed 30 April 2008

Armed Forces: Military service,,
accessed 22 September 2009

Armed Forces: Military service,,
accessed 22 September 2009

2004, the Committee reiterated “the concern expressed in its
concluding observations on the previous report about conditions of
alternative service available to conscientious objectors to military
service, in particular with respect to the eligibility criteria
applied by the Special Commission and the duration of such service
as compared with military service
”, Concluding observations of
the Human Rights Committee : Lithuania. 04/05/2004. CCPR/CO/80/LTU,,
accessed 30 April 2008

C. & R. Bachmann: Military service and conscientious objection
in Central and Eastern Europe in view of the extension of the
European Union towards the East, Brussels, 1997.

Rights Committee , Eightieth session , Summary record of the 2182nd
meeting , CCPR/C/SR.2182 ,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Right to Conscientious Objection in Europe, Quaker Council for
European Affairs, 2005,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Religious Freedom Report 2006: Lithuania, 15 September 2006,,
accessed 30 April 2008, International Religious Freedom Report 2007:
Lithuania, 14 September 2007,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Rights Committee , Eightieth session , Summary record of the 2182nd
meeting , CCPR/C/SR.2182 ,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Right to Conscientious Objection in Europe, Quaker Council for
European Affairs, 2005,,
accessed 30 April 2008

Commission on Human Rights, 1997. The question of conscientious
objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General
prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83. United Nations,

Saulius 1993. 'Problems in the Lithuanian Military', in: RFE/RL
Research report, 22 October 1993.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Lithuania

28 Ago 2023

A continuación, encuentran en inglés (y su traducción en español) un modelo de carta para enviar por correo electrónico a las autoridades lituanas. Las y los invitamos a utilizarlo para defender y apoyar adecuadamente a la defensora de los derechos humanos Olga Karatch.


28 Ago 2023

Tras la denegación de asilo político por parte de las autoridades lituanas a la pacifista y defensora de los derechos humanos bielorrusa Olga Karatch (Volha Karach), se acaba de lanzar la campaña internacional #protection4olga para exigir protección y asilo para la directora de la organización "Nuestra Casa" (Nash Dom).

11 Jul 2023

El 4 de julio, la Oficina Europea para la Objeción de Conciencia (EBCO) y la Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra (IRG) hicieron un llamamiento urgente a las autoridades de inmigración de Lituania con respecto al caso de Ivan Strashkevich, un objetor de conciencia de Bielorrusia que actualmente busca asilo en Lituania.

15 Feb 2018

Durante muchos años, parecía que el servicio militar obligatorio estaba a punto de desaparecer. Pero en los últimos cinco años, la imagen ha cambiado: Noruega extendió el servicio militar obligatorio para las mujeres; Suecia ha reintroducido el servicio militar obligatorio para todos; Ucrania, Georgia, Lituania y Kuwait han reintroducido el servicio militar obligatorio para hombres después de breves hiatos; Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos han introducido el servicio militar obligatorio por primera vez. Vemos por qué los gobiernos recurren a la compulsión para llenar sus ejércitos, y lo que esto significa para los movimientos pacifistas.

23 Mayo 2016

Habiendo reintroducido temporalmente el servicio militar obligatorio (por un período de 5 años) el año pasado, el Consejo de Defensa del Estado decidió en marzo que ese servicio militar obligatorio sería aprobado indefinidamente. La decisión del Consejo tiene que ser ahora aprobada en el Seimas, el parlamento del país. El servicio militar obligatorio se abolió en 2008, pero fue reintroducido – y el gasto en defensa también se incrementó en base a las amenazas en la seguridad en Europa del Este.

06 Ene 2016

Los planes de Lituania en cuanto a extender el servicio militar obligatorio después de 2020. El servicio militar obligatorio volvió a instaurarse a principios de este año por un período de 5 años. Pero debido a las «amenazas del este» han decidido prolongarlo al menos por otro año. Un nuevo estudio muestra que más del 50% de la población está de acuerdo con su nueva introducción en el país. El estudio muestra también que la mayoría de los que se oponen al servicio militar obligatorio pertenecen a un rango de edad entre los 15 y 24 años, siendo este rango el más cercano a la edad del servicio militar que está entre los 19 y 26.

27 Jul 2015

Dos mujeres lituanas han creado una de fotos que exploran el tema del género en Lituania. Tiskevic-Hasanova y Neringa Rekasiute realizaron/crearon estas fotos después de que el servicio militar obligatorio volviese a introducirse en Marzo de 2015. La primera llamada a filas fue el 11 de mayo, cuando dos tercios de los 3.000 de las plazas fueron ocupadas por voluntarios. Las 14 fotos pueden verse aquí:

13 Abr 2015

Después del restablecimiento de la conscripción militar el año pasado, el ejército ucraniano está llevando a cabo la primera de las tres tandas de conscripción militar de “emegencia”. Las llamadas a filas de esta primera tanda empezó el 20 de enero, y los hombres entre 25 y 60 años son aptos para la conscripción. Para mediados de febrero 75000 personas han sido llamados a filas, de las cuales el 60% entrará en servicio, según afirma el presidente ucraniano Petro Poroshenko.

La conscripción terminó en Ucrania en 2013, pero fue reimpuesta en 2014.

22 Oct 2009

El 1 de julio de 2009, los últimos reclutas dejaron las fuerzas armadas de Lituania. Así se completa la transición de las fuerzas armadas lituanas a un ejército voluntario. El 13 de marzo de 2008, el parlamento lituano aprobó una nueva ley “Sobre los principios de organización de las fuerzas armadas lituanas”, que permite al parlamento fijar el número de reclutas que se reclutarán cada año, con el objetivo de suspender el reclutamiento (cuota 'cero').

19 Nov 1997

19 de noviembre de 1997


12. Preocupan asimismo al Comité los informes sobre actos de hostigamiento y abuso de la fuerza cometidos contra conscriptos por miembros del ejército, así como de brutalidad policial contra detenidos. El Comité considera pues que debería establecerse un mecanismo independiente para investigar todos los casos de presuntos actos de brutalidad cometidos por policías o miembros del ejército.

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