Challenges in Establishing the Accountability of Child Soldiers for Human Rights Violations: Restorative Justice as an Option

African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2005; Pages 321-334

15 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014

See all articles by Godfrey Musila

Godfrey Musila

National Defense University - Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Date Written: December 1, 2005

Abstract

This paper considers the question of the criminal responsibility of child soldiers for atrocities committed in armed conflict. It highlights the innovation introduced in international criminal law by the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which permits the prosecution of children aged 15 and above. In viewing child soldiers not only as perpetrators but also as victims of human rights abuses, it argues that the existing mechanisms of criminal sanction for human rights violations that focus on punishment of the perpetrator are inadequate and that elements of restitutive justice, which are already asserted to a limited extent in recent developments in international human rights law regarding juvenile justice, should be included in the criminal prosecution process. Such an approach would satisfy the minimum requirements of justice while ensuring that child soldiers, who are often themselves the victims of human rights abuses, are appropriately sentenced.

Keywords: child soldiers, accountability, restorative justice, international criminal court, special court for sierra leone, atrocities, human rights violations

Suggested Citation

Musila, Godfrey, Challenges in Establishing the Accountability of Child Soldiers for Human Rights Violations: Restorative Justice as an Option (December 1, 2005). African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2005; Pages 321-334. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2428057

Godfrey Musila (Contact Author)

National Defense University - Africa Center for Strategic Studies ( email )

300 5th Avenue, Building 62
Washington, DC 20319-5066
United States

HOME PAGE: http://africacenter.org/programs/

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