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International Law: Child Soldiers - Case Study Example

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"International Law: Child Soldiers" paper states that without a solution to the root problem, nations that are embroiled in war and non-signers of any human rights conventions will likely continue to use children as soldiers, and there may be no means of preventing them from doing so…
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International Law: Child Soldiers
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Download file to see previous pages Using children to fight wars is not only morally abhorrent but very bad very the physical and mental health of the children in question. That is in part why a series of international laws and treaties have come into effect to try to deal with this scourge. But the issue is more complicated than that. While child soldiers are victims of war crimes, they too can also perpetrate serious breaches of the law of armed conflict. Under normal circumstances, individuals who commit such acts, be they combatants or not,2 would be vulnerable to prosecution. However, because children in such situations are victims as well as perpetrators and because of the special protections afforded to children under international law, many have questioned whether or not children can be prosecuted for these egregious violations of the law of armed conflict. But a larger question is are states being prevented from using child soldiers by international law? Are the laws robust enough to prevent this situation from occurring in the future? The answer must sadly be no.

To begin with, it is useful to examine a recent example. In early 2009 the International Court convened to begin the pre-trial proceedings against Thomas Lubanga. He has been accused of recruiting children for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s warlords. This was a country that was embroiled in the civil war from 1998-2003. “The Chamber decided that there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is criminally responsible as co-perpetrator for the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of fifteen years into the FPLC” (Pre-Trial Chamber). This was one of the only cases of such an individual being charged for such a crime—despite the massive prevalence of such activity. (It should also be noted that the charges against Lubanga are very narrow and do not include much of the abuse that attends the recruitment and enslavement of child soldiers.) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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