Bosnia to end conscription on 1 January 2006

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Antimilitarists in Bosnia and Hercegovina recently were suprised by an unexpected victory: conscription in the country will formally end on 1 January 2006, and in practice conscription has already ended. The end of conscription is part of a bigger defence reform in the country, passed by parliament on 5 October. The reform includes the reduction of the size of the Armed Forces to about 10,000, the abolishment of separate Defence Ministries for the two entities ("the Federation" and Republika Srpska), and in general will move the Bosnian military closer to NATO standards. It has therefore been welcomed by US and UK government and military authorities. It is expected that Bosnia will soon join NATO's "Partnership for Peace". Already now, Bosnia and Hercegovia is part of the US lead "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq. On 10 June 2005 the country deployed a contingent of 36 troops to Iraq. The unit is Explosiive Ordnance Disposal unit was to be subordinated to a US Marine Engineer unit in the Fallujah area. Bosnian contingent are set to rotate to Iraq for a period of six-months each.

Bosnia recently saw the spread of conscientious objection, with more than 3,000 conscientious objectors up to now, mainly in the Croat-Bosnian federation, and less in the Republika Srpksa. With the end of conscription, any regulation for substitute service for conscientious objectors will also come to an end.

Sources: Email Prigovor BiH, 3 October 2005

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