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Armenia: Veterans Permitted to Seek Medical Treatment Abroad

(July 30, 2015) On July 2, 2015, the President of Armenia signed into law amendments to the Law on Social Security of Servicemen and Their Family Members that provide for full government financing of medical treatment abroad of servicemen injured during military service. (Press Release, President Serzh Sargsyan Signed a Number of Laws Passed by the National Assembly, President of the Republic of Armenia official website (July 2, 2015) (in Armenian).) The amended Law requires the state to pay for medical treatment, travel, and accommodation expenses if adequate treatment in Armenia is not available for the serviceman. (Law No. 258/1998, OFFICIAL GAZETTE No. 258 (1998), ARLIS [Armenian Legal Information System] (in Armenian).)

On July 23, 2015, the Government of Armenia passed resolutions ordering the allocation of funds to implement these amendments. (Government of Republic of Armenia Increases Military Insurance, ARMENPRESS (July 23, 2015).)

Background

The explanatory note to the draft version of the amendments to the Law stated that numerous young men who join the army in good health receive wounds, injuries, and mutilating diseases that cannot be treated in Armenia and, as a result of the lack of access to proper care, remain permanently bedridden or wheelchair-bound. This situation also negatively affects the government’s recruitment efforts. (Gayane Mkrtchyan, Armenian Government Endorses Bill on Budget-Funded Treatment of Wounded Soldiers Abroad, ARMENIANOW.COM (May 22, 2015).)

According to Member of Parliament Edmon Marukyan, one of the sponsors of the legislation, the necessity of amending the Law became evident due to the highly publicized case of Gevorg Yeghiazaryan, a serviceman who was seriously wounded by a gunshot while on duty at his military post in 2011. (Armenian Parliament Votes Unanimously for Bill on State Payment of Servicemen’s Treatment Abroad, PANORAMA.AM (June 18, 2015).) In this case, the Ministry of Defense initially allocated US$70,000 to pay for Yeghiazaryan’s treatment at an Israeli clinic, but then refused to finance the second phase of the treatment. (Mkrtchyan, supra.)

Written by Nerses Isajanyan, Foreign Law Consultant under the supervision of Peter Roudik, Director of Legal Research.