Penalties or consequences that apply to a person who refused to take an oath of allegiance to the military on religious grounds, whether this person would be required to perform alternative service and duration of service [ROM37594.E]

The following information is provided in a translation of a 9 July 2001 letter from a Senior Legal Counsel of the Romania Ministry of National Defence. The Romanian version was received from the Office of the Defence, Military and Air Attaché at the Embassy of Romania, in Ottawa.

On the basis of the provisions of Art. 4 of Act 46/1996 governing preparation of the population for defence, citizens who refuse armed military service for religious reasons undertake alternative-duty service.
Alternative-duty service is regulated by Govt. Decision 618/1997 (published in the Official Gazette, no. 282/1997) and its duration, as stipulated in Art. 2 of the above-mentioned Decision, is 24 months for regular-term military personnel and 12 months for military personnel with reduced service.
Consequently, pertinent Romanian legislation does not stipulate sanctions for the situation presented [i.e. for a person who refused to make an oath of alligeance to the military on religious grounds]. This may be due to the fact that during the recruitment process, persons fulfilling the criteria of current recruitment legislation are assigned to one of two types of military service by the local recruiting and drafting committees (compulsory service, regulated by Act 46/1996, Art. 3, regular-term personnel, personnel with reduced service or alternative-duty personnel as governed by Govt. Decision 618/1997). The military service oath is an official procedure, performed only by individuals carrying out compulsory military service after they have absorbed the main duties of Romanian armed forces personnel, the significance of the military oath and that of the combat flag, 12-14 days after enrollment.

The following information was provided by the Secretary General of the Cluj Napoca-based Coalition for Alternative Civil Service, in 16 June 2001 correspondence. The Coalition for Alternative Service is a network of Romanian NGOs that are committed to advancement of the conscientious objection to military service in Romania and was referred to the Research Directorate by the European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors (EBCO) in Brussels.

According to the law 46/1996 ... article 4, which states the following: "Citizens who, because of their religious convictions, refuse to perform military service under arms execute utilitarian alternative service, according to the present law. The way of performing the utilitarian alternative service will be regulated by Governmental Decision." This article applies only [to] the religious minorities recognised by law, by the Secretariat for Cults. Here are included Jehovah Witnesses, 7th Day Adventist Church and others.
If the recruit is an Orthodox or Protestant or Catholic he is not allowed performing alternative service, this right is not recognised for them. If a recruit is belonging to other religions than those recognised by the Secretariat for Cults, he is submitted to the Military Court and faces a trial. This can take a long period of time. The law doesn't stipulates penalties for those who are not Jehovah Witnesses or any other religious minority therefore such a trial [would be lengthy].

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Coalition for Alternative Civil Service, Cluj Napoca, Romania. 16 June 2001. Correspondence with Secretary General.

Ministry of National Defence, Bucharest. 9 July 2001. Letter from a Senior Legal Counsel. [Public Works and Government Services Canada. Certified True Translation]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sources including:

European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors (EBCO)

World News Connection (WNC)