YEREVAN -- Armenia's Defense Ministry has launched a hotline for reporting complaints, following a recent surge of violent incidents and non-combat deaths within the armed forces, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.
In a written statement issued on December 13, the ministry said the 24-hour telephone service is intended to help the Armenian military "react swiftly to problems related to military service and issues preoccupying citizens."
That will also "strengthen the army-society link," the statement said. "The secrecy of communication is guaranteed," it added.
The hotline is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Defense Ministry and the army command in response to a spate of non-combat deaths and other violent incidents among servicemen.
Dozens of officers and soldiers have been arrested, fired, or demoted since August in connection with these cases. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has repeatedly pledged to crack down on army crime and make the armed forces more transparent to the public.
Late last month, the Defense Ministry announced that in the future army conscripts will be allowed to have mobile phones and use them during a particular time of the day to be determined by their commanders. Many conscripts are believed to have concealed their ownership of mobile phones until now.
The ministry said that under an agreement reached with Armenia's two leading wireless operators, soldiers will not be charged for outgoing phone calls to their relatives and friends who agree to pay for them.