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Child Soldiers Should Be Prosecuted

Should countries prosecute child soldiers for the crimes they committed during wartime? Should there be an international minimum age of criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity?

All the Yes points:

  1. Child soldiers are no different from child criminals. Child soldiers have been responsible for some…
  2. Many children volunteer to become soldiers in wartime out of patriotism or a desire to avenge the de…
  3. Prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity take place in the specific context of a post…
  4. Allowing child soldiers immunity from prosecution denies victims justice. If you are a victim of an…
  5. Not prosecuting child soldiers may encourage commanders to use child soldiers to commit war crimes b…

All the No points:

Child soldiers are no different from child criminals. Child soldiers have been responsible for some…

Yes because…

Child soldiers are no different from child criminals. Child soldiers have been responsible for some of the most brutal and violent acts in wartime. In Sierra Leone child soldiers committed acts of rape, mutilation and mass killings of civilians. Under most domestic laws the age of criminal responsibility is much lower than 18, in the USA criminal responsibility can be as low as age 8. If a child can be convicted for murder under national law they should also be held responsible for international crimes. There should be no exception simply because the crimes occurred in wartime.

No because…

Child soldiers are not morally responsible for their actions. Children are often forced into fighting and have little choice over whether or not they enlist. After that, they are following orders of adults rather than acting of their own free will. The recruiters of child soldiers also use drugs and alcohol to make children more compliant and to enable them to commit acts they would not ordinarily commit. Child soldiers should therefore not be held responsible for actions they were forced to commit and had little understanding of.

Many children volunteer to become soldiers in wartime out of patriotism or a desire to avenge the de…

Yes because…

Many children volunteer to become soldiers in wartime out of patriotism or a desire to avenge the death of their families. Being a soldier is also a way of earning money. If a child has volunteered to be a soldier then they should be held accountable for the acts they committed in this role. It is wrong to say that all child soldiers are forced into fighting or that they had no control over their actions. Many children occupy command positions in their armed group/military and are responsible for planning or ordering the commission of war crimes and human rights abuses. These children knew exactly what they were doing and should not be excused from their actions simply because they are thought to be too young to take responsibility.

No because…

Most children are forcibly recruited and even when they enlist they may not have thought carefully about their decision or made an informed choice. It may be that the child thought it would be safer to enlist or factors such as poverty and hunger influenced their decision rather than a desire to fight. Once children are recruited into the military it is also difficult for them to leave because they become dependent on their commanders for drugs, alcohol, money and food. Even if it looks like a child has volunteered this may not be the case. Child soldiers rarely have the same understanding of their decisions and actions as adults and therefore should not be held responsible for their actions.

Prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity take place in the specific context of a post…

Yes because…

Prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity take place in the specific context of a post-conflict society. It is important that child soldiers are included in post-war justice, so that the whole community can see that the perpetrators of human rights violations are punished. The finality of a trial also helps to draw a line under the conflict and allows a society to move on.

No because…

The aim should not be punishment of child soldiers but rehabilitation. There are alternatives that achieve this aim better than prosecutions. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and Disarmarment, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation programs (DDR) are a better way of helping child soldiers come to terms with what they did and re-integrate them into society. Prosecutions pose the risk of being one-sided victor’s justice. They may also be selective because of lack of evidence or an overloaded justice system, so not every child soldier will be prosecuted. It is better to have a comprehensive program of rehabilitation so that all child soldiers can be re-integrated into society and rehabilitated.

Allowing child soldiers immunity from prosecution denies victims justice. If you are a victim of an…

Yes because…

Allowing child soldiers immunity from prosecution denies victims justice. If you are a victim of an ordinary crime at the hands of a child, that child can be prosecuted and held to account but if you are the victim of a child soldier this would not occur. Child soldiers are often ordered to commit abuses against their own families and communities. It is unfair to victims that will have to live side-by-side with their attacker and see them walk free without any punishment.

No because…

Child soldiers are often victims of war themselves. Prosecutions do not allow the opportunity to rehabilitate child soldiers and instead prioritise the rights of victims over the rights of the child, even though the child himself will probably have suffered abuse as well.

Not prosecuting child soldiers may encourage commanders to use child soldiers to commit war crimes b…

Yes because…

Not prosecuting child soldiers may encourage commanders to use child soldiers to commit war crimes because they know there will be no consequences. International efforts to deter warring parties from committing atrocities require a clear and credible message to be sent: anyone involved in war crimes will face justice in future.

No because…

It is unlikely that prosecutions after the fact would have this effect. Prosecutions only happen after the war has ended so those who recruit child soldiers will not take this into consideration. Moreover, they are already breaking the law by using child soldiers so they are unlikely to stop using child soldiers just because the child faces a risk of prosecution.

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shrek
7 months ago

Shrek 2 is the greatest movie of all time

donkey
7 months ago
Reply to  shrek

yes

Anonymous
7 months ago
Reply to  shrek

agreed

Meh
7 months ago
Reply to  shrek

agreed

yes
6 months ago
Reply to  shrek

agreed

just no
7 months ago

just no

summer
7 months ago

I agree that children who go to war should be punished for their offences and they may not be able to walk openly after the war because they might get into a conflict with someone and then inflict pain on them by attacking them, so we can clear the streets before this occurs.  Some  countries  help  the  kids to  prepare  for  this  by  forcing  other  soldiers  that  ran  off  on  to  their  knees  to  be  killed.  One  of  these  things  happened  to  a  kid  named  Jomah  who  was  17  years  old  at  the  time and  he  had  to  have  a  lesson  about  beheading  others.  That  day  when  he  was  at  this school  the  teachers  had  brought  in  3  scared  kids . . .  I  think  Yes,  because  due  to . . .  Most  kids  volunteer  to  fight  as  soldiers  in  times  of  war  out  of  pride  or  an  urge  to avenge  their  families’  deaths.  Being  a  soldier  may  also  be  a  source  of  funding.  If  a  child  volunteers  to  be  a  soldier ,  they  should  be  kept  responsible  for  their  conduct  when in  this  position.

I  think  that  kids  that  were  in  war  should  be  persecuted  for  6  to  8  months  because  they should  not  spend  years  and years  for  being  a  soldier  because  if they  were  in  jail for  years  and  years  for  not  really  knowing  why  well  then  that  is  a  problem  because  then  they  are  not  thinking  of  what  they  did  and  how  they  would  fix  it.  So  yes  they  should be  persecuted  but  only  for a short  amount  of  time.  Kids  from  the  war  that  are  soldiers are  not  different  from  kids  that  have  been  committed  to  a  crime  so  why  should  the  kid soldiers  not  be  committed  for  killing  people. Many  of  the  most  aggressive  and  abusive acts  of  wartime  have  been  committed  by  child  soldiers. Most  kids  volunteer  to  fight  as soldiers  in  times  of  war  out  of  pride  or  an  urge  to  avenge  their  families’  losses.  Being  a soldier  may  also be  a  source  of  funding.  If  a  child  volunteers  to  be  a  soldier,  they should  be  kept  responsible  for  their  conduct  while  in  this  position.

riley
7 months ago
Reply to  summer

i disagree with you because most children were/still are forced into war by threats and they only kill because of selfe defence.

Sit down summer
5 months ago
Reply to  summer

I completely disagree with you, you have no idea what those kids are going through.

Boo
5 months ago
Reply to  summer

I disagree with you because you grab on part and blame the whole thing. Since that was confusing I will use an example, think of the Nazis, sure some volunteered others were brainwashed but there were some who were forced into it as well and even some ordinary people in Germany all of them are usually looked down upon even if they didnt want to or didnt like them. I know I am confusing but that was the best I could explain

Ezra
8 months ago

Wtf, they are children you dumbdumbs.

luna
8 months ago

yes he should be prosecuted because he kills he is a dangerous person

Bob John
8 months ago

why r people disliking anybody who sways toward yes? Its ok to have a different opinion lol.

no u
8 months ago

I don’t think child solider should be prosecuted- at least they shouldn’t get as bad charges as adults.

haven harvey
11 months ago

They should not get in trouble for this they where drugged and forced to do this it wasn’t there choice so they shouldn’t get in trouble for something they didn’t want to do and got forced to do

john doe
8 months ago
Reply to  haven harvey

the still killed people

emmalii
7 months ago
Reply to  john doe

they were drugged and not fully aware. also they are young and not mature enough to make decisions for themselves, as a child you are taught to listen and obey to adults

Julia W
5 months ago
Reply to  haven harvey

the drugs have a permanent effect so therefore they children are still dangerous, I do not believe the children should be sentenced to death, but to keep other safe there should a facility for children to have their thought process worked on.

jacob
1 year ago

love this

Anonymous
1 year ago

Child soldiers should get amnesty because they were basically forced some of them were kidnapped and threatened so they deserve amnesty and I would easily forgive them…imagine if it was your kid coming bad and you loved them so much although they were a child soldier would you throw them in jail when you see them? what if you watched them get kidnapped and then watched them take your child how would you feel when they took him and how would you feel when he came back home apologizing?

yes
7 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Imagine if it was your family that was killed by a child soldier. You would want them prosecuted. They killed and apologizing changes nothing.

Max
1 year ago

how about this: THEY’RE CHILDREN AND DON’T BELONG IN THE ARMY

Meh
7 months ago
Reply to  Max

There forced to be there tho dummy

I am Stupid lol
1 year ago

I think that in this topic, it really depends, but for most of the cases, I’d say that child soldiers should not be prosecuted because many are drugged or abducted to join the military at such young age and even if the decision to join the army was the decision made by the child themselves, most likely, it was either their parents or some other adults around them that convinced the child that joining the army will be the solution to get out of the poverty. Also, some kids are drugged or forced to take alcohol to commit violent crimes that they would never commit in their normal state. I think that the kids’ decision to join the army for almost all the kids weren’t made by themselves so I think that child soldiers should be given amnesty.

boo baby
1 year ago

why should the child soldiers get amnesty i need answers plz

lilbaby
1 year ago
Reply to  boo baby

me too lol

jimmy johns
9 months ago
Reply to  boo baby

almost all of the time, they are forced.

Nya
1 year ago

Child soldiers should not be prosecuted because they were forced. Sometimes, in reality, you have put yourself in others’ perspectives to fully understand. For instance, what if you were taken from your parents and forced to be a soldier and if you refused they would starve and kill you. Also, imagine what those children have seen at a young age. No child would want to kill someone or see someone get killed or blew up in their face. What would you do if it happened to you?

NA: Server not found
1 year ago

I think it should be based on a few factors because statistically only a third are forced to, not sure the statistics on the drugs, but the majority chooses to fight. I do think they are too young to realize what there doing and it is the adult’s war, so I think it should be on the severity, whether or not they chose to, the force of drugs, and the number of threats and violence they were subjected to. Just my opinion though.

Size Matters
1 year ago

Eh. This entire topic is completely in the moral “gray zone.” Yes, most child soldiers join for survival, or are forced into it. While others join for revenge and think the war is a “just” cause. Some should be persecuted because they made the decision themselves out of free will, while others like Ishmael Beah were drugged out of their minds and forced to commit these horrible atrocities. This argument will forever be open because the cycle of war, violence, death will never stop, and this imperfect, flawed utopia will forever be stuck in this never ending cycle.

Not Needed
1 year ago

Child soldiers should DEFINITELY be perpetrated. I know someone that was in a war. The children would come up to them and be crying and act like they were afraid for their life. The Armed Forces would trust these children because they were just children. But no, these children pull out a gun or a knife and kill innocent members of the Armed Forces. If someone were to commit a crime many times and then just say sorry, would you really forgive them? This is what most of the child soldiers are doing. I admit that there are some child soldiers that are truly sorry for what they did and those kids should not be perpetrated. Most of these child soldiers have a choice and decide to fight, so you can’t just say that they are drugged and brainwashed all of the time. If I was made to either fight or be killed, I would choose to be killed because I am not able to kill innocent lives.

Ashton
1 year ago
Reply to  Not Needed

you have to think about how they dont think as an adult would they have a different mindset and do not think the way that most people especially people who live in america do. they grow up with people dying around them in an almost constant war so innocent lives being taken are a norm. And i do not think that a child would be able to have the morals to decide that he/her dying instead of taking innocent lives would be the right choice, if I were in that position and I were a younger age I do not think I would have the “balls” to make that decision

randomperson
11 months ago
Reply to  Not Needed

i think that it’s pretty unfair to say that because they were taught and conditioned to fight the enemy and survive just like others were taught not to steal and bully and treat people the way they want to be treated. I don’t really think that little kids need to be drugged in order to do what their guardians tells them to.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Child soldiers were forced into their position. Abducted from their homes at a young age and drugged to make them numb to pain and violence, they began to constantly commit war crimes. In this situation, a Restorative Justice process would save these children’s lives. Rehabilitation has helped several former child soldiers to become the thriving adults they are. A Punitive justice system would cause these children to never recover from their violence and drug addictions, making them a threat to society. This is opinionated, but you chose the logical choice. Imagine that we live in a world where violence is shamed upon and punishable by law. Imagine that these children live in another world where they are young and impressionable and put on drugs to brainwash them into thinking that violence is applauded. Now imagine that we pull these children out of that world that they grew up in and put them in prison. This is what we are doing.

Noah Spiessens
1 year ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I also greatly think this, but think this is a very subjective opinion. There are several opinions on this topic, and I think there are good points for both sides, and I think no one is right or wrong in this situation. It is true that Child soldiers are drugged, but rehabilitation does not always work for these mentally ill people, and need stronger sources to help them out in need

Dillon V
2 years ago

I think that the grey area of the different situations of the children is too big to decide on one choice, the main determiner for me is if they are willing to change and think differently than they did, many of the children were forced into joining in “Join or die” situations and they didn’t have a choice. Some were not put into that situation but were taught and brainwashed that killing/ fighting for the cause is the right thing and that the enemy is bad. when in reality, the people are just using the children. but like i said earlier, the main thing that should be taken is if the child soldier wants to change their ways or not. So, overall, my opinion is in the middle, each situation with a child soldier is different, some refuse to think any other way than they were previously taught, while others truly want to change and become better. it also depends on what crime they have committed, they could have killed an enemy soldier to protect them self, or they could have killed because they want to prove they are worthy to their leader. though i think that the child soldiers who are killing helpless civilians should be punished but eventually be forgiven if they are willing to change. Overall, its a rough situation all around.

Bre
1 year ago
Reply to  Dillon V

This is a very good point. I think that it shouldn’t be a yes or no discussion with the child put into the situation though. Someone else said, “Imagine that these children live in another world where they are young and impressionable and put on drugs to brainwash them into thinking that violence is applauded. Now imagine that we pull these children out of that world that they grew up in and put them in prison.” Another good point being made. Though I think that all children who are able to survive this mess they were out through deserve another chance. But they need to be taught in a way of forceful kindness. Ishmael Beah, a child soldier himself talked in a interview about a lady who worked in the rehabilitation center he was sent to who was always kind to him, which at first angered it but it was healing him without him knowing it. He was constantly reminded, ‘it’s not your fault’, which he claimed was another thing that bugged him, because he believed it was, but this too helped him in the endgame. Overall, I just think that children who have been through stuff like this shouldn’t be prosecuted, but shown another way, and shown that they are loved, and that it really is not their fault.

yeeterson
2 years ago

i do not think that these children should face prosecution. children are far too young to be active members of the military. They should not face punishment as they are not aware of their actions and know no other way to cope with their current situation. Their solution to this problem are child soldiers. Kids from so young as age nine are being forced into military training and act as a standing army for the country they reside in. They have no say and no other options.the amount of pressure, fear and distrust these children are surrounded with is immense. Drugs and alcohol are often used to influence their actions and they are brainwashed into committing certain acts

Carlo Hamilton
2 years ago
Reply to  yeeterson

i dont think so because the children know what they was doing and they still went out there to kill

Gary Winthorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Carlo Hamilton

yes, but they are told what to do and them being as young as they are don’t know any different. If they do backlash they would be killed or abused.

boo baby
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlo Hamilton

they were under drugs so they dont know what they were doing

Bobo the Clown
1 year ago
Reply to  yeeterson

Imagine you are sitting outside your house one day and multiple tanks roll up to your house, hand you a gun and tell you to shoot your parents or they will kill you Then after that they kidnap you a bring you to a military base hand you a gun and boom, you are a child soldier forced to fight in a gruesome war. Sadly, this is a reality in some 3rd world countries. This happens because these countries are very poor and undeveloped and they need an army to defend themselves. Sometimes these children get rescued and taken back to the US by UNICEF (“United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund”) and they get put into rehab because during the time they are a soldier they are given drugs to lower fear. After rehab they are put into Guantanamo Bay one of the worlds most horrible prisons, it is the home of all the terrorists. Some people do not think these children should be put into such a horrid place but some people do. I think these kids should be put into prison because some are happy they have hurt US soldiers, some stab people a rehab and some kids bragged about it.

My first piece of evidence of why these kids should be put in prison is that these people have bragged about killing US soldiers. In the article “The Child Soldier on Trial at Guantanamo Bay” by Andrea Prasow it talks about a man named Omar Khudar and he was 15 when he was brought to the US from being a child soldier. He pleaded guilty and has shown no remorse for his actions. But in this article it states “Two former interrogators testified that Khadr had bragged about killing a U.S. soldier and that he claimed the day he planted landmines to kill U.S. and coalition forces was the happiest day of his life.” (Prasow 6) this shows that he cleary doesn’t feel bad about his actions and is a danger to society. Also in the same article it states “Khadr had been “marinating” in the radical jihadi views of elder statesmen of terrorist groups while at Guantanamo.” (Prasow 1) this means that he has been listening to older terroists talk about plans to harm america. After awhile of hearing this Khadar might think it is normal to want to harm america, so this is another reason why these child soldiers shouldn’t be let out into society.

Another reason why these soldiers shouldn’t be let out into society is because in a video where a person iterviews Ishmeal Beah a former child soldier and he tells us that when kids got to the US after being rescued by UNICEF they were stabbing the people a rehab. This also shows how much these kids hate americans because they were rescued from a warzone but they still try and hurt americans out of hatred and if they are not imprisoned they could take hurting americans to a higher level and cause more damage then just a few stabs.

Carlos
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobo the Clown

This situation isn’t likely. I think you have good points to be made, but almost all child soldiers were orphaned than kidnapped, there is a very small amount who killed their parents. That actually just sounds like a fake situation based on what little you have read.

Carlos
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobo the Clown

though otherwise, i agree about the UNICEF stuff

Orlando
3 years ago

The moral gray area is too large on this debate, as I could go either way. It’s too situational of an argument for me to sway one way completely. However, if I absolutely had to make a blanket statment, I would have to lean towards yes. When all the factors seemingly balance out to me, the outlying factor is the fact that crimes are being comitted. In this argument every yes has a no, but the crime behind it all seems too important to me.

maddie
2 years ago
Reply to  Orlando

I agree and think that there are cases that should be granted amnesty like if they are kidnapped or sold into war but when it gets to children joining the army by themselves then there are are a lot of different circumstances that could determine if they deserve amnesty of not. For example if a child chooses to join the army because they are need the money and protection versus if they wan to avenge a dead family member of friend. Overall I think that there shouldn’t be a blanket policy either way I think it needs to be discussed case by case with the option of amnesty on the table.

james jorgenson
3 years ago

If they are not prosecuted then what should be done to them?

Jordan Matthew
2 years ago

They should be put into rehab and treated back to normality so we can return them back to the community so they could be normal happy kids with normal lives, instead of being put to death for actions that were not intentionally there, to begin with.

boo baby
1 year ago

they should go to rehab to get clean and get a better life.
ok so like
put yourself in there place who would yoou feel if yoou heard people say they wanted you prosecuted and dead because you were forced to kill people and take all that they had.you would be scaredand theen you would like want to run annd hide from all the people because yoou arre trying not to die :(
:)

james morehe
3 years ago

All child soldiers should have the opportunity to earn amnesty and a second chance in life through therapy or some other way.
The kids are forced into fighting and held at gunpoint to participate in the killing.
Also, they are drugged so they don’t have empathy and to keep them to stay there and not run away.
therapy will help to decide if they are stable or not.
They are also too young to know the consciences of there actions. when you were young did you think that much before you acted? probably not.

james
3 years ago

No, because sometimes the young children are held at gun and told to work or they will be shot. The army does a lot to desensitize them. For example drugs. Another way is that they kill people in front of them. These children are victims. They are forced into fighting. They come to the army in hopes of safety.

Kathrine Waterbury
3 years ago

“Human rights law declares 18 as the minimum legal age for recruitment and use of children in hostilities Recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law.” (pg.1) in the article “Child Recruitment and Use”. Yet, also stated in the article “Child Recruitment and Use”, “Hundreds of thousands of children are used as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world.” (pg.1). This shows how much of a problem child soldiers are. The issue of child soldiers first arose in the 1970’s. The article “Child Soldiers in History” states, “As early as the 1970s, some terrorist organizations began recruiting children to help carry out attacks. Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam made use of children to execute successful suicide bombing missions.” (pg.1). And ever since then, people have been debating whether or not child soldiers should be granted amnesty, or be held accountable. Child soldiers should be held accountable because they commit terrible crimes, grow used to violence, and can be unpredictable.
Child soldiers should be held accountable for their actions. One reason is that they commit terrible crimes. As the article “Debatewise: Child Soldiers Prosecution” indicates, “Child soldiers have been responsible for some of the most brutal and violent acts in time.” (pg.1). This implies how dangerous they can be and how bad the crimes are. And written in the article “Prosecuting Child Soldiers For Their Own Safety” suggests, “But there are cases of child soldiers clearly in control of their actions, ‘who were not coerced , drugged or forced into committing atrocities. Some have become child soldiers voluntarily and committed atrocities of their own discretion.’”( pg.2.). This shows, even though it doesn’t explain exactly, what they did, proves that what they do, is in fact, wrong.
A second reason on why child soldiers should be held accountable is because they grow used to violence. As the article “Koinange: Friend gunned down by child soldiers” expresses, “…the use of children for acts of terror, including as suicide bombers, has emerged as a phenomenon of modern warfare” (pg.1). This reveals how, since it is modern, the children have grew up with violent surroundings. Also, shown in the article “Ex-Child Soldier: ‘Shooting Became Just Like Drinking a Glass of Water”quotes, “Somebody being shot in front of you, or you yourself shooting somebody became just like drinking a glass of water.” (pg.2). This further explains that violence became an everyday, normal thing to child soldiers.
The last reason is that child soldiers can be unpredictable. In the article “Ex-Child Soldier: ‘Shooting Became Just Like Drinking a Glass of Water” demonstrates, “We beat up staff members. They came back, and we beat them up some more.” (pg.3). This proves how they can act out and harm other people who are just trying to help. Further explained in the article “Koinange: Friend gunned down by child soldiers” proves, “Most of the peace keepers had passed through without incident, but the child soldiers opened fire on Myles and his television crew.” This shows exactly that child soldiers can be unsuspecting one moment and then cold blooded killers the next.
Some might believe that child soldiers should be given amnesty because they are victims themselves. In the article “Child Recruitment and use” proves that, “Regardless of how children are recruited and of their roles, child soldiers are victims, whose participation in conflict bears serious implication for their physical and emotional well-being.” (pg.1.) This shows how child soldiers are seriously scared and also are victims of war. This also proves how child soldiers grow used to violence because they are still participating and still being affected mentally. People might also think that because they’re manipulated. As the article “Debatewise: Child Soldiers Prosecution” states, “Once children are recruited into the military it is also difficult for them to leave because they become dependent on their commanders for drugs, alcohol, money and food.” (pg.1). This suggests how child soldiers are seriously scarred and are also victims of war. Although, this also reveals how child soldiers can be unpredictable because since they are used to receiving drugs and money, may cause them to act out if they don’t obtain those things. And lastly, many may think that child soldiers are forced to join. As written in the article “Debatewise: Child Soldiers Prosecution” makes clear that “Most children are forcibly recruited even when they enlist they may not have thought carefully about their decision.” (pg.1). This shows how child soldiers are forced into war whether it is because they are being forced, or because they have nowhere else to go. But this misses the fact that some child soldiers willing join to obtain revenge for their families and willingly harm to seek revenge overall.
Because child soldiers carry out horrendous crimes, grow accustomed to violence and can be dubious, they should be held accountable for their actions. I used to think child soldiers should be forgiven. But after researching both sides of the topic, it changed. I have come to realize that child soldiers are no different than children who commit crimes in the US, though the crimes they commit are far worse than those in the US. And also reading about how child soldiers act, horrified me, pushing be to believe that they should be held accountable. But the real question is, when will these acts stop? What will come of the children’s fate once war is over? Is it jail time or freedom?

Anon
3 years ago

Not everybody lives in the USA. Those laws don’t always apply.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Very interesting, reading your article made me think otherwise about the topic too.

baby boo
1 year ago
Reply to  Anonymous

same that got me thinking what would happen if the rebels were still alive

boo baby
1 year ago
Reply to  Anonymous

that is what i was thinking

Anon
2 years ago

I completely agree that child soldiers should be held accountable for the crime they commit, yet I believe your depiction is completely void of the nuances that impacts humanitarian and international law. The purpose of DDRR programming is so much that they allow for these violent children to be rehabilitated, as such would prosecuting them really be the best way to act? I also believe your account discusses what child soldiers do at the time through their own narratives, something that humanitarian groups would note as them expressing their victim-hood and therefore it would be unlikely that these children would be held accountable for these crimes. Looking at accounts of Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier now successful author in the US, whilst he acknowledged that he committed horrible atrocities can you really argue that he is acting out of his own free will or deploying a form of ‘tactical agency’ that scholars in the field have noted children use in order to survive their surroundings. `

I believe your response highlights the key issues that face international and humanitarian law, but these are what DDRR are essentially set up for, so the question on whether they should be prosecuted is more of a moral and philosophical question than legal.

Finally the comparison between a child soldier in a country such as, Sierra Leone or Northern Uganda to that of a child criminal in the US is laughable. If a child is forcibly abducted, made to watch their community suffer, and then commit these same atrocities to survive in a war-zone then the notion that they are somewhat similar to what US child criminals act is ridiculous.

Kevino Pinder
3 years ago

I think that child soldiers are innocent and should not be punished for the actions they have committed because they are taken away from their families, causing them to lose their childhood and are being drives to fight in wars.

Noal
3 years ago

They should not be prosecuted because they were forced to go into war or the commanders will kill them.

ttyy
3 years ago
Reply to  Noal

many child soldiers are appointed to command postions

Lea
2 years ago
Reply to  ttyy

This might be true, but many times they are under the influence of drugs and emotions, and often aren’t thinking clearly.

Life
2 years ago
Reply to  Lea

Try thinking from the victims POV.
You and your family is having a fun day at the park, and then there’s a terrorist attack. All of your family has died except you. The terrorist turned out to be a child, and received amnesty for their war crimes. Your family isn’t avenged. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL huH?

kaiden
1 year ago
Reply to  Life

Honestly, these kids have also been the ones killing families and recruiting other kids. It’s just a cycle if you think about it. What if they just left? if they are being put in commander positions, they could just leave. These children might not understand the meaning of the word humble but you know they could just leave there life to save several others.

Your Mom
3 years ago

No, they should not be prosecuted. They are little kids still learning and translating what they learned into who they are. They should not be prosecuted because people giving them alcohol and drugs are brain washing them literally. So now that not just Child soldiers there Drug addicts and alcoholics. It’s pathetic really to even think they are responsible for the actions they were forced to do.

Anon
4 years ago

I believe that child soldiers should not be prosecuted. The reason behind my opinion is that these kids do not have much of a second option to take, these commanders who are taking the kids force them to either fight or be murdered like the rest, which anyone who wants to stay alive knows the only option to choose is to fight. At the end, they’re still kids, they could be easily controlled into thinking that what they’ve done is correct, meaning that the people who pick up the kids to go to war should be the ones getting blamed for everything.

yusufabdi123@gmail.cm
3 years ago
Reply to  Anon

child soldiers should not prosecuted because most are kidnapped and drugged also they have no control over their action during the wartime

No Thanks
3 years ago

actually most child soldiers make the choice to join the military, rebel group, or the terrorist organisations.

james morehe
3 years ago
Reply to  No Thanks

You are right in that most chose to go there. However and A Long Way Gone a book describes most kids go there seeking safety and refuge they have no idea what will happen to them.

CarZac23
2 years ago

People always have control over their actions. To say that they don’t is to say that we are mindless machines who don’t have a will of our own.

Hey
2 years ago
Reply to  CarZac23

Children’s minds can easily be changed. Most child soldiers are kidnapped held at gun point and fed drugs. They are told what they are doing is right, that the military is family. So yes they are forced to do what they do.

Jason Bankhead
4 years ago

I say both because, if the child is force to join the war they should not be held for there action. If the child join the battle because they want to then they should be held for there actions.

Isaiah
4 years ago

I think that they should be prosecuted because if you were under 18 and committed a crime in the us you would be sent to prison. Also they are not part of a countries military. and the UN sates that if you kill a soldier and you are not part of a military you will be sent to prison.

None yo bizness
4 years ago
Reply to  Isaiah

You would be sent to juvenile prison.

Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Isaiah

However, “60 percent [of child soldiers] were 14 and under” (Aftunion), and the UN acknowledges that the juvenile offender must be both over the age of 16, and must have committed a serious crime, but the UN also acknowledges that laws vary in each country, and 16 is the minimum age in which child stop be children. WIth the first eliminated, these soldiers cannot be tried as adults

Anonymous
4 years ago

No, child soldiers should not be held responsible for the crimes they commit. They are under the manipulation of drugs, and they do not know they are doing anything wrong. The commanders who force the children to recruit should be help responsible, because they are putting the idea of, “It is okay to kill,” into the children’s minds.

Anonymous
4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I agree, they were at the perfect age where everything can influence them, good or bad. If anything they should be considered prisoners of war because they were taken like hostages and forced and influenced to do the things they did with the thought looming over them that if they don’t do the correct thing they will be killed.

Sebastian
4 years ago

I believe that child soldiers should not be prosecuted. The children involved never asked to become a soldier in a war. Most of them had simple lives before this ever hapened. Most child soldiers die fighting a war they didn’t start, and a war they don’t understand. It’s the unjust actions of the adult soldiers that brings them into the fight. As they try to survive, they are desensitized from blood, and death. It’s because of this that they keep fighting. Also, don’t forget that if they try to disobey their commander, they will die.

None yo bizness
4 years ago
Reply to  Sebastian

Actually, some children do volunteer out of patriotism and they want to prove themselves. Most of them do get forced into war, sadly.

Bob
4 years ago

I believe that the child soldiers should be prosecuted, because the people that they have killed had a family as well, and that family should not have to be able to live with the thought that there is someone out in the world living a happy life because they killed someone.

Kelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob

They wouldn’t be living a happy life if they are abused, tortured, and raped. They are brainwashed into thinking that’s what they need to do to survive.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Child soldiers should be prosecuted, because even though they were forced to become child soldiers, the crimes they have committed are still there. They still killed, murdered lives, and really, what about the people that’s killed in the process? Should the child soldiers be considered innocent because they are forced to do the crime? Even though they are forced, they just want to live, all that. I think they should be prosecuted for the crimes they’ve done, but the punishment should be lighter because they were “forced” to commit the killings.

Jerry
4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

No because its like… lets say a robot attacks you. You wouldn’t put the robot in jail. You would put the one controlling it.

Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

A robot isn’t a person, as soon as you mentioned a robot your argument is invalid. We don’t put any creature in jail except for humans. Do you ever see animals in jail. No, because that is stupid. Robots don’t have a mind of their own. While children do. 13 year olds aren’t stupid, they have a conscious and thoughts.

Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  Ryan

the children are drugged and have no clue what to do our control over there minds. they are like the robot with no control and just doing what the commander says

anonymous
10 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

actually they put a bird in prison for helping in a robbery

xavier
9 months ago
Reply to  Jerry

thats because a robot isn’t living so it wouldn’t do anything to put them in jail for children it would be effective

Star
4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Dude seriously? What if that was your kid? You think these kids want to do what they did? No. What if your kid, or little sibling, or any child you know and love was forced to do this I’m pretty sure you’d say otherwise, am I right? So no they shouldn’t it’s not their fault, yes I understand crimes were still committed, but it’s not their fault.

Dalan
3 years ago
Reply to  Star

no no no that’s the problem you can´t just go on saying that ¨what if it was your kid¨ that makes it a biased statement and quite frankly blatantly stated that you have no regard for the argument at hand. His mom isn’t going to decide.

boo baby
1 year ago
Reply to  Dalan

are yall dabating

Jetaveeia
4 years ago

No they should not they are taken from there familys at a young age and force to fight a battle they didnt start so why should they have to fight, theyare alo not responsible for the actions they take if someone tells them to do so.

derrell
4 years ago
Reply to  Jetaveeia

they was mistreated and didn’t think of they’re decisions

mason pagano
4 years ago
Reply to  derrell

you are wrong they where brought in to this they did not have the choice to do this they were token and they were brought into this. so next time you post a comment think about what you said you in considerate person that thinks they know they are doing but in reality don’t know jack. and also these kids have had their lives token away and for you to say that they didn’t think about their decisions. thank you very much for letting me take my anger out on a kid that does not know anything

Imad Boudjatit
5 years ago

No child Soldiers should not be held responsible for anything firstly because we the elders are the ones who started war leaving no choice but to drag the youngsters and teach them murder we should blame oursleves and our military forces instead of the children.

sameer rehman
4 years ago
Reply to  Imad Boudjatit

indeed i totally agree with your argument as these children are in simple words being held as a hostage and the hands of these perpetrators.

trash
11 months ago
Reply to  Dave

no

dababy kanye west = balls
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

no

Mike Oxsmall
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave

no

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