2012 Symposium

2012 Symposium: Child Soldiers and International Law

Child Soldiers and the Law

If you assume that the quintessential child soldier is a barefoot, 10-year-old African boy with an assault rifle, you might be on the wrong track.

An audience that attended the inaugural symposium of the National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review last week learned that the profile of a child soldier is far more complicated than what is often imagined or portrayed. For instance, 40 percent of child soldiers are girls. Two-thirds of child soldiers enlist voluntarily. A very small percentage are implicated in acts of atrocity, and most are not combatants but cooks, cleaners, sex slaves and forced conjugal partners.

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