Information on whether a person who in 1990 signed an obligation not to leave the USSR for 5 years would now be subject to prosecution by a military tribunal after being demobilized in 1991 and leaving Estonia in 1992, and if so, whether the person would be allowed council, tried in absentia, appeal would be allowed, and possible penalties [RUS16673.E]

According to a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, a person who was "demobilized" as opposed to "discharged" from the soviet military (24 Feb. 1994), and who left Estonia while still part of the Russian Army in violation of a signed obligation not to leave would be subject to prosecution in Russia under Article 247 (Desertion) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (23 Feb. 1994). Information provided to the DIRB stated that this would be the case as long as the person's unit had not been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Estonian army, and as long as the unit remained in the Russian army or under joint CIS command (ibid.). According to the source, the punishment for desertion during peacetime ranges from 3 to 7 years imprisonment (ibid.).

The source added that it is doubtful, but not impossible, that an individual would be tried for desertion in absentia (ibid.). The source added that the person would probably be given the benefit of counsel at trial, but not necessarily in the pre-trial phase (ibid.). The source also stated that a review of the court's sentence by a cassation panel of a higher court is obligatory if the convicted person demands it (ibid).

For additional information on military tribunals in Russia, please refer to the attached document.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB 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.


Professor of political science, University of Toronto. 24 February 1994. Telephone interview.

Professor of political science, University of Toronto. 23 February 1994. Information faxed to the DIRB in Ottawa.


Professor of political science, University of Toronto. 24 February 1994. Information faxed to the DIRB, Ottawa.

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. 15 June 1992. "Press Conference Announces Abolition of Military Tribunals." (NEXIS)