How are cases of desertion currently handled, and are cases of desertion or avoidance of military service during the Sandinista regime covered by recent government amnesties? [NIC6446]

During a telephone conversation with the IRBDC on 17 August 1990, Mr. Lino Hern ndez of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights of Nicaragua stated that a decree ending military conscription has been approved by the government and there is currently no conscription. However, those who were drafted before the decree must complete their regular military service of two years. The source added that there have been cases of people held for service after their regular two-year term has been completed. Mr. Hern ndez indicated that the Nicaraguan government has promised to end all compulsory military service by 8 December 1990.

Regarding desertion, the same source stated that there are currently some cases of deserters undergoing trial. According to Mr. Hern ndez, the penalty varies according to the circumstances and could result in a jail term of up to six years except for desertion in the midst of battle, in which case the deserter could receive a sentence of up to 12 or possibly even 20 years in prison. Mr. Hern ndez stated that the broad amnesty passed by the Sandinista government before the recent transfer of power covered mostly cases of military personnel who committed abuses and "contra" guerrillas. The CPDH speaker stated that a more recent amnesty approved by the new government is not very clearly defined and applies only to political crimes. The CPDH has reportedly complained to the government for 20 cases of people currently being tried for political crimes, alleging that the charges laid against them have been changed to appear as common crimes. Deserters were not reported to be among these cases.

Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.