New Internationalist

Court convicts over child soldiers

September 2007

In a ground-breaking move, the war crimes court for Sierra Leone has handed down the first-ever convictions by a UN-backed tribunal for the crime of recruiting and using child soldiers. Thousands of children were used by all sides during Sierra Leone’s brutal 11-year conflict, which ended in 2002. They were often forcibly recruited, given drugs and used to commit atrocities. Thousands of girls were also forced to become soldiers and often subjected to sexual exploitation.

In Freetown in June, the Special Court for Sierra Leone found three men from the rebel Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu) guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international law, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

‘The use of child soldiers is a particularly horrific crime. These children should have been learning how to read, not how to shoot an AK-47,’ says Jo Becker from Human Rights Watch. ‘We hope that the Special Court’s decision will protect children in other parts of the world from suffering what so many Sierra Leonean children were forced to endure.’

New Internationalist Editorial

This column was published in the September 2007 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Court convicts over child soldiers

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Currents

All Currents

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 404

New Internationalist Magazine issue 404
Issue 404

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.