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International Order and Justice

International Criminal Accountability and
Children's Rights

Children have been the most vulnerable and at risk in armed conflicts. The situations in Darfur, D.R. Congo, the Philippines, Nepal, Columbia and many others tragically illustrate this fact. This study is a pioneering attempt to unite the two concepts of international criminal accountability and child rights.

It addresses the difficult dilemma that –children should be entitled to justice no less than adults, but testifying in courtrooms may add to—not alleviate—their trauma; and strongly recommends the development of specific child witness protection measures in the practice of tribunals.

It explores the extent to which international law instruments and international criminal accountability mechanisms are potentially useful for countering violations of child rights in and after armed conflict and demonstrates various efforts by the UN organs to ensure effective protection for children exposed to war, including the combat against the recruitment of child soldiers.

The study also addresses an additional dilemma of whether or not child soldiers should be prosecuted. It argues that accountability does not necessarily require criminal proceedings, and recommends that participation in reconciliation, rather than imprisoning of former child soldiers, would be a constructive way for societal re-integration.


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

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