Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Steinl: Child Soldiers as Agents of War and Peace

Leonie Steinl (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Law) has published Child Soldiers as Agents of War and Peace - A Restorative Transitional Justice Approach to Accountability for Crimes Under International Law (Asser Press 2017). Here's the abstract:

This book deals with child soldiers’ involvement in crimes under international law. Child soldiers are often victims of grave human rights abuses, and yet, in some cases, they also participate actively in inflicting violence upon others. Nonetheless, the international discourse on child soldiers often tends to ignore the latter dimension of children’s involvement in armed conflict and instead focuses exclusively on their role as victims.

While it might seem as though the discourse is therefore beneficial for child soldiers as it protects them from blame and responsibility, it is important to realize that the so-called passive victim narrative entails various adverse consequences, which can hinder the successful reintegration of child soldiers into their families, communities and societies. This book aims to address this dilemma. First, the available options for dealing with child soldiers’ participation in crimes under international law, such as transitional justice and criminal justice, and their shortcomings are analyzed in depth. Subsequently a new approach is developed towards achieving accountability in a child-adequate way, which is called restorative transitional justice.