Tina Khidasheli (Interpressnews)

Tina Khidasheli (Interpressnews)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A draft bill about ending compulsory military service has survived a debate in the judiciary committee of the Georgian parliament.

The bill was approved by the committee on Tuesday.

Member of parliament Zurab Japaridze, who co-authored the bill, said he believes the system needs to be changed when youth are forced to go to the military against their will.

“In fact, this system doesn’t have anything to do with the defensive ability of the country,’ he said on Tuesday, adding that 6,436 young men were recruited this year, but only 25 percent of them do a real military service. The rest work in ministries or other places, mostly as security service employees.

Japaridze is one of several members of parliament who used to be member of the former ruling party the National Movement but formed a new political union called Girchi (Cone).

He clarified that the vast majority of youth use different ways to escape military service or serve as a guard instead of being in the army.

If approved, the bill will come into force on January 1, 2016, from which time youth will no longer be forced to go into military service.

The judiciary committee suggested introducing professional military service in stages.

A few days ago, Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, who is also in favor of switching to a professional army, said that the system needs to be changed. Even if compulsory service is kept the system needs to be changed to fit the interests of the state, she said.