Recruiting the African Child into Armed Conflicts: An Exposition on the Causal Factors and International Law Position on the Use of Child Soldiers
Publication Date : 15/11/2021
The phenomenon of the child soldier in modern day conflict remains an issue of global concern. Recruitment of child soldiers seems to be concealed to the fact that they are expendable, easily replaceable and cheaper to maintain. Children are recruited into armed conflicts to carry out different roles which violate international, regional and State instruments prohibiting the practice. The aim of this research is to examine the recruitment and use of child soldiers within the laws regulating armed conflict. This research adopted the doctrinal library-based research methodology. The legal instruments relating to child soldiers such as the Geneva convention, Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and Optional Protocol II to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and including the opinion and views of authors, scholars were also examined. Findings revealed that the use of children in armed conflict remain unabated despite the laws prohibiting the practice. Governments, armed groups, rebels, militias and emerging terrorists’ groups such as Boko Haram continue the recruitment and use children in armed conflicts. Children are held criminally culpable by State forces for war crimes despite being forcefully recruited. The research concluded that, there is still prevalence of the use of child soldiers despite laws prohibiting the practice. Revision of the Legal frameworks on the prohibition of child Soldiers would ensure enforcement and stiffer punishments for violators. Provisions exempting culpability of child soldiers need to be more prominent in the laws.
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