Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy
Mark A. Drumbl, REIMAGINING CHILD SOLDIERS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW AND POLICY, Oxford University Press, February 2012
39 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011 Last revised: 30 Mar 2017
Date Written: September 2, 2011
The international community undertakes considerable efforts to eradicate the scourge of child soldiering. Mostly, though, these efforts replay the same narratives and circulate the same assumptions.
This book takes a second look at these efforts. It aspires to refresh law and policy so as to improve preventative, restorative, rehabilitative, and remedial initiatives while also vivifying the dignity of youth. Along the way, it also questions central tenets of contemporary humanitarianism, rethinks elements of international criminal justice, and hopes to embolden the rights of the child.
• Challenges the perceived wisdom about child soldiers
• Argues that shortcomings arise when child soldiers generically are seen as passive victims, tools of war, and psychologically devastated
• Approaches child soldiers with a more nuanced and less judgmental mind
• Proposes that, in some cases, child soldiers should take responsibility for their conduct - not in criminal trials, but through traditional and restorative forms of justice
The organizational framework is straightforward. Chapter 1 (available herein) broaches the issues, sets out dominant assumptions, and provides an overview of the central arguments. Chapters 2 and 3 introduce a diversity of accounts of the realities of child soldiering that, to date, have been inadequately considered by international lawyers and policymakers. These Chapters are descriptive in that they present these accounts. They also are synthetic in that they interpretively distil common themes and, thereby, build a composite. These Chapters also are analytic in that they lay a foundation for the normative arguments that ensue. Chapters 4 and 5 transition the book to international law and policy. These Chapters respectively address two themes: first, accountability of child soldiers and, second, accountability for child soldiering. These Chapters examine law and policy as they are and, much more importantly, the direction in which both are heading. Chapters 6 and 7 then suggest a variety of reforms to the content and trajectory of law and policy in light of the complex realities of child soldiering.
Keywords: International Law, War Crimes, Children and Youth, Criminal Justice
JEL Classification: K10, K 33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
By Mark Drumbl
By Nima Elmi