Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code (1999) provides that “recruiting minors into the armed forces” constitutes a war crime.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Azerbaijan stated:
15. Under article 116.0.5 of the Criminal Code, the enlistment of minors in the armed forces is qualified as the crime of violating standards of international humanitarian law during armed conflicts and is punished by deprivation of liberty for a term of 7 to 15 years, or life imprisonment. …
17. … [P]ursuant to the Military Service Act of 3 November 1992, citizens who meet the requirements for serving in the armed forces may receive training in military colleges once they have reached the age of 17. The legislation of Azerbaijan prohibits all forms of forced instruction in these establishments and any person who wishes to receive instruction in them must present the requisite documents.
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Azerbaijan stated:
425. According to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Military Service” of November 3, 1992, [those eligible for recruitment] … are 18–35 year old men who are in the military registry …
429. … [C]itizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other persons meeting the set requirements of the military service can voluntarily enter and be enrolled to the active military service in the military schools for cadets upon reaching the age of 17.