The increasing number of domestic conflicts around the world has put civilian populations in general, and children specifically, in harmʼs way. Due to their vulnerability and the lack of social support that is likely to result as a consequence of combat, children are often recruited and put to use as soldiers and participants in these wars. The international community has only recently begun to address this egregious practice, and much remains to be done to halt the recruitment and use of child soldiers. This paper surveys the current humanitarian and human rights laws applicable to this issue, and examines the likely effect the new International Criminal Court will have on the prosecution of those who forcibly conscript children. The definitions of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity will be considered, and it will be recommended that the latter concept extended to include the offence of using and recruiting children as soldiers. Such an extension will facilitate the prosecution and punishment of offenders, while increasing the likelihood that proceedings are brought in domestic courts.
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Shawn Tock, "Recruiting and Using Children as Soldiers: The Case for Defining the Offence as a Crime Against Humanity" (2004) 13 Dal J Leg Stud 157.