Child Soldiers in International Courtrooms: Unqualified Perpetrators, Erratic Witnesses and Irreparable Victims?

Research Handbook on Child Soldiers (Mark A. Drumbl & Jastine C. Barrett eds., Edward Elgar 2019)

Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2019-10

21 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019 Last revised: 3 Mar 2020

See all articles by Barbora Holá

Barbora Holá

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement

Thijs Bouwknegt

NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Date Written: January 1, 2019

Abstract

International criminal trials deal with perpetrators and victims of mass atrocity crimes. Child soldiers have appeared in international courtrooms as perpetrators, witnesses and victims. However, these various encounters were often inappropriate, uncomfortable and uneasy. This Chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of child soldiers in international courtrooms focusing on the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court. It analyzes trials with and about child soldiers, describes applicable legal rules, discusses existing practices and identifies core challenges. The Chapter unpacks an empirically grounded overview of law’s encounters with child soldiers and then normatively problematizes that encounter. In both international and internationalized courtrooms, child soldiers have been characterized, adjectively, as unqualified perpetrators, erratic witnesses and irreparable victims.

Keywords: International Criminal Court, Child Witnesses, Child Perpetrators, Rules of Evidence, Victimization, Prosecution of War Crimes, Child, ICC, Sierra Leone

Suggested Citation

Holá, Barbora and Bouwknegt, Thijs, Child Soldiers in International Courtrooms: Unqualified Perpetrators, Erratic Witnesses and Irreparable Victims? (January 1, 2019). Research Handbook on Child Soldiers (Mark A. Drumbl & Jastine C. Barrett eds., Edward Elgar 2019); Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2019-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3325241

Barbora Holá (Contact Author)

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nscr.nl/en/author/barbora/

Thijs Bouwknegt

NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Herengracht 380
1016 CJ Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://niod.nl/en/staff/thijs-bouwknegt

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