Matthew Happold
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The recruitment of child soldiers as a war crime
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War crimes are violations of the laws and customs of war incurring individual criminal responsibility. Although the prohibition of the recruitment of children under 15 was first promulgated as a rule of international humanitarian law, it might be said that it has since migrated to become a part of international human rights law. The prohibition on the recruitment and use of child soldiers was originally linked to situations of armed conflict. The prohibition of the recruitment of children can be seen as straddling both international human rights and international humanitarian law. However, in one respect in particular, it sits firmly on the international humanitarian law side of the fence. International human rights law binds only states. However, there now exists a ruling of an international tribunal on the point, an interlocutory decision of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Prosecutor v. Samuel Hinga Norman.

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