Child Soldiers and Accountability

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:
Child Soldiers and Accountability

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This chapter considers each of international laws lex lata, lex ferenda, and lex desiderata. Lex lata refers to current law which is settled. Lex ferenda means future law, aspirationally as it should be, which is in the process of crystallizing and coalescing. Lex desiderata refers to law which is fancied, in this case, by global civil society and UN agencies whose efforts often determine the legally oriented content of best practices, rule of law blueprints, and policy guidelines. By considering law in these sequential forms, the chapter pursues a ‘longitudinal approach to … legal development’. Although criminally prosecuting child soldiers for their alleged involvement in acts of atrocity is permissible under international law, it increasingly is viewed as inappropriate and undesirable. As a result, its viability as a policy option sharply constricts. This constriction, in turn, thins the application of other accountability mechanisms regardless of their form or nature.

Keywords: child soldiering; international law; lex lata; lex ferenda; lex desiderata; criminal law

Chapter.  17087 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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