Not So Simple

Mark A. Drumbl

in Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592654
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738807 | DOI:
Not So Simple

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How do children come to be associated with armed forces or armed groups? Once there, which roles do they serve? What do they do and how are they used? What is known about why some child soldiers become implicated in acts of extraordinary international criminality? This chapter addresses these questions by bringing into sharper relief a variety of accounts that, to date, the international legal imagination has tended to neglect. Although drawing from the experiences of child soldiers in many of the world's regions, the chapter focuses on atrocity-producing conflicts that have become internationally judicialized and in whose aftermath considerable efforts have been undertaken to reintegrate demobilized or released child soldiers. These accounts mainly concern persons under the age of eighteen at the time of their association with armed forces or armed groups. It is argued that it is wrong to typecast all children associated with armed forces implicated in acts of atrocity as faultless passive victims or to collectivize them as demons and irredeemable thugs.

Keywords: child soldiers; child soldiering; children; armed forces; armed groups; atrocity; personal accounts

Chapter.  21427 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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