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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Africa's toy soldiers, non-State armed groups, and 'voluntary' recruitment: anything but child's play
Authors:Bosch, ShannonISNI
Easthorpe, JuanitaISNI
Periodical:African Security Review (ISSN 2154-0128)
Geographic terms:Africa
Sierra Leone
Subjects:child soldiers
children's rights
military recruitment
law of war
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2011.634919
Abstract:Armed conflict on the African continent has witnessed increasing recruitment of child soldiers, often at the hands of non-State armed groups. Unfortunately, this practice continues unabated in the face of legal obligations prohibiting the recruitment of child soldiers under international humanitarian law, and international and regional human rights law. While international condemnation of the practice has led to attempts to increase the minimum age for recruitment to 18, a disjuncture persists between the legal obligations States sign up to, and the actual enforcement of these prohibitions at a domestic level. International criminal law jurisprudence emanating from the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court is being monitored closely, as these courts seek to enforce the prohibition in all armed conflicts, and against both State actors and non-State armed groups. International humanitarian law only protects child soldiers who have been unlawfully recruited. This article takes a closer look at what amounts to unlawful recruitment in light of customary international humanitarian law, since this body of law also binds non-State actors, even without further criminalizing legislation at a domestic level. Moreover, the article briefly explores whether a child can ever void this protected status by volunteering to participate directly in hostilities. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]