Beyond victimhood: the dilemma for legal accountability of child soldiers under international law
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This research project sought to establish why child soldiers should be held accountable for crimes they commit as well as highlight the ineffectiveness of international legal instruments in dealing with the challenge of child soldiers in Africa. The study involved interviewing former child soldiers, Humanitarian Agency workers as well as former peace keepers using interview questionnaires. The study shows that child soldiers are not mere victims but are also perpetrators of the most atrocious crimes under international law. First, the study investigates why and how children join armed groups. It established that some join voluntarily while others are forcefully recruited. There are a myriad of reasons that were established during the research which include inter alia; political, economic and social reasons. Secondly, the study highlights the challenges of holding former child soldier accountable under international law whilst also examining the failure of the said law to protect children. Thirdly, due to the dilemma of legal accountability under international law with regard to child soldiers, this study explores alternative means of accountability.