Defined: Enlisting Child Soldiers

Defined: Enlisting Child Soldiers

Everyone knows when you want something done right, you send a kid to do it!

Wait, what?

So what’s the big deal with this “enlisting child soldiers” thing? How did this come to be a charge someone could be indicted under? Who in their right mind would want to have an army of children?

Well, no one. A few of the ICC’s indicted, do, however.

According to the Rome Statute, “Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities” is a war crime. It is a form of human trafficking, considered on par with child sexual enslavement.

Children are easily manipulated, especially in areas where food and shelter are scarce. Their families may be killed or threatened. The seductive lure of a meal and a place to sleep may be all it takes to unknowingly sign up for life – short though it may be. For others, there is no choice other than simply “kill or be killed.”

The most infamous child soldiers are those of Joseph Kony‘s LRA, for which he is indicted. Many others are either indicted or suspected of the enlistment of child soldiers as well. One, Dominic Ongwen,  is even a former child soldier himself.

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