Enfants-soldats et droits des enfants en situation de conflit et post-conflit

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Cet ouvrage rassemble les travaux d'intervenants de différentes disciplines, réunis lors du symposium international de Khartoum, pour répondre à cette question : le droit des enfants dans les conflits armés et en contexte de sortie de crise tel qu'il existe aujourd'hui est-il clair, pertinent et applicable pour répondre effectivement à l'exigence de protection ? (Articles en français et en anglais). Š

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Date de parution 01 novembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 42
EAN13 9782336330242
Langue Français
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ENFANTS-SOLDATS ET DROITS DES ENFANTS
EN SITUATION DE CONFLIT ET POST-CONFLIT
Réalités et enjeux
On estime à plusieurs centaines de milliers le nombre d’enfants encore
utilisés à des fns militaires dans le monde. Enrôlés de force, violés, privés du
droit à l’enfance et souvent obligés de tuer eux-mêmes pour sauver leur peau.
S. E. M. François ZIMERAY
Ambassadeur de France pour les droits de l’homme
Cet ouvrage rassemble les interventions des participants au symposium
international de Khartoum sur le thème de « l’effectivité de la protection
des droits des enfants dans des environnements culturels spécifques ».
Co-organisé par l’Institut Français de Khartoum (Fonds d’Alembert du
Ministère français des Affaires Étrangères), l’Université de Khartoum
(Faculté de Droit) et l’Université de Strasbourg (Institut d’Études
Politiques), cet événement avait pour but de réunir pour la première fois
entrepreneurs politiques, du droit, de l’armée, du social (acteurs issus
des communautés locales), du thérapeutique (psychologie spécialisée en
stress post-traumatique), de l’humanitaire et du développement (agences
des Nations Unies, organisations non gouvernementales). Mais la question
est la même pour tous : le droit des enfants dans les confits armés et en
contexte de sortie de crise tel qu’il existe aujourd’hui est-il clair, pertinent
et applicable pour répondre effectivement à cette exigence de protection ? Sous la direction de
Mohamed Abdelsalam BABIKER, Maxence DAUBLAIN
et Alexis VAHLAS
Dirigé par Mohamed Abdelsalam BABIKER, Maxence DAUBLAIN et ENFANTS-SOLDATS
Alexis VAHLAS.
Contributions en français et en anglais (non traduit) de Mohamed Omima ET DROITS DES ENFANTS
Abdelwhab ABDELTAM, Abdelsalam BABIKER, Stephen BLIGHT,
EN SITUATION DE CONFLIT ET POST-CONFLITBernard BOËTON, Richard CLARKE, Maxence DAUBLAIN, Sophie
DE CONINCK, Jean-Marc DE LA SABLIÈRE, Patrice EFFEBI,
Hilja GEBEST, Adrian GOODLIFE, Khadeija Mahjoub JAFFAR, Réalités et enjeux
Nina LOSEKAMM, Juvence F. RAMASY, Yasir SALEEM, Jean-Paul
THONIER, Ray Virgilio TORRES, Alexis VAHLAS, Armelle VESSIER.
Préface de François ZIMERAY
Photographie de couverture : Jérôme Tubiana.
ISBN : 978-2-336-29930-3
31 e
INTER-NATIONAL
Sous la direction de
ENFANTS-SOLDATS ET DROITS DES ENFANTS
Mohamed Abdelsalam BABIKER,
INTER-NATIONAL
Maxence DAUBLAIN EN SITUATION DE CONFLIT ET POST-CONFLIT
et Alexis VAHLAS
Réalités et enjeux
INTER-NATIONAL



ENFANTS-SOLDATS ET DROITS DES ENFANTS
EN SITUATION DE CONFLIT ET POST-CONFLIT

Réalités et enjeux














Collection « Inter-National »
dirigée par Denis Rolland,
Joëlle Chassin et Françoise Dekowski

Cette collection a pour vocation de présenter les études les plus
récentes sur les institutions, les politiques publiques et les forces
politiques et culturelles à l’œuvre aujourd’hui. Au croisement des
disciplines juridiques, des sciences politiques, des relations
internationales, de l’histoire et de l’anthropologie, elle se propose,
dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire, d’éclairer les enjeux de la
scène mondiale et européenne.

Série générale (dernières parutions) :

Edouard BOINET, Hydropolitique du fleuve Sénégal. Limites et
perspectives d’un modèle de coopération, 2013.
Eric DICHARRY, L’écologie de l’éducation. Un anthropologue à
l’école du bertsularisme en Pays basque, 2013.
Sébastien BARRERE, Les Etats-Unis face au franquisme. 1936-1956,
la croisée des chemins, 2013.
Marc PAVE, La pêche côtière en France (1715-1850). Approche
sociale et environnementale, 2013.
Marianne GUILLEMIN, Femmes officiers de communication dans
l’armée de Terre. Le parcours des combattantes, 2013.
Ariane LANDUYT & Denis ROLLAND (org.), Construire l’espace
politique européen. Historiographies, politiques et territoires, 2012.
Julien GYGAX, Olympisme et guerre froide, 2012.
Daniel AARÃO et Denis ROLLAND (dir.), Modernités nationales,
modernités importées. Entre Ancien et Nouveau monde (XIXe-XXIe
siècle), 2012.
Jean-Luc GRANDRIE, avec Nathalie COSTA et Denis ROLLAND,
Les Tréteaux de France, 2001-2011. Récit d’une reconquête théâtrale,
2012.
Dominique VILLEMOT, Marc-Aurèle et le gouvernement de
soimême, 2012.


Sous la direction de
Mohamed Abdelsalam BABIKER
Maxence DAUBLAIN Alexis VAHLAS






ENFANTS-SOLDATS ET DROITS DES ENFANTS
EN SITUATION DE CONFLIT ET POST-CONFLIT

Réalités et enjeux





Préface de
S. E. M. François ZIMERAY
Ambassadeur de France pour les droits de l'homme








































© L’HARMATTAN, 2013
5-7, rue de l’École-Polytechnique ; 75005 Paris
http://www.harmattan.fr
diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr
harmattan1@wanadoo.fr
ISBN : 978-2-336-29930-3
EAN : 9782343299303 SOMMAIRE



PRÉFACE de S. E. M. François Zimeray 9
INTRODUCTION 13

PREVENTING RECRUITMENT AND USE OF CHILDREN
BY ARMED FORCES AND GROUPS: CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD,
Hilja Gebest 15

LA PROTECTION DES ENFANTS DANS LES CONFLITS ARMÉS :
COMMENT RÉALISER DE NOUVEAUX PROGRÈS ?,
Jean-Marc de La Sablière 35

THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS BY TRANSITIONAL
JUSTICE MECHANISMS IN POST-CONFLICT COUNTRIES,
Armelle Vessier 45

L’UNICEF ET LA PROTECTION DES ENFANTS
DANS LES CONFLITS ARMÉS : UNE ILLUSTRATION SOUDANAISE,
Ray Virgilio Torres 69

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CHILDRENAND ARMED
CONFLICT AGENDA IN SUDAN,
Stephen Blight 81

REINTEGRATION PROGRAMMES FOR CHILDREN FORMALLY
ASSOCIATED WITH ARMED FORCES AND GROUPS: LESSONS LEARNED
AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC GAPS,
Sophie de Coninck and Nina Losekamm 93

PRÉVENTION, DÉMOBILISATION ET RÉINSERTION COMMUNAUTAIRE
DES EX-ENFANTS ASSOCIÉS AUX FORCES ET AUX GROUPES ARMÉS,
Maxence Daublain et Patrice Effebi 115

LES ENFANTS-SOLDATS ET LA JUSTICE POUR MINEURS,
Bernard Boëton 139
7
CHILD SOLDIERS. TIME FOR A NEW PUSH ON PREVENTION,
Richard Clarke 157

ARMED NON-STATE ACTORS AND CHILD PROTECTION,
Adrian Goodlife 171

LE MILITAIRE EN OPÉRATION MULTINATIONALE
FACE AUX ENFANTS-SOLDATS,
Général Jean-Paul Thonier 189

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN RIGHTS UNDER ISLAMIC LAWS IN SUDAN:
CONFLICT OR CONGRUENCE WITH HUMAN RIGHTS
AND HUMANITARIAN LAW NORMS,
Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker 199

THE REALIZATION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS IN SUDAN:
THE IMPACT OF ARMED CONFLICT,
Khadeija Mahjoub Jaffar 231

THE ROLE OF SUDANESE CIVIL SOCIETY IN PROTECTING CHILDREN’S
RIGHTS USING COMMUNITY BASED APPROACHES
AND COMMUNITY AWARENESS-RAISING,
Dr Omima Abdelwhab Abdeltam & Mr. Yasir Saleem 249

LA PROTECTION JURIDIQUE ET POLITIQUE DES ENFANTS
DANS LES CONFLITS ARMÉS EN AFRIQUE,
INVENTAIRE DES DISPOSITIONS LÉGALES ET POLITIQUES,
Juvence F. Ramasy 263

L’INVULNÉRABILITÉ DES ENFANTS VICTIMES DE CONFLITS ARMÉS :
LES CONDITIONS D'EFFICACITÉ D'UN DEVOIR DE PROTÉGER,
Alexis Vahlas 283

TABLE DES MATIÈRES 299

8
PRÉFACE


*S.E. M. François Zimeray



On estime à plusieurs centaines de milliers le nombre d’enfants
encore utilisés à des fins militaires dans le monde. Enrôlés de
force, violés, privés du droit à l’enfance et souvent obligés de
tuer eux-mêmes pour sauver leur peau. Leur sort est avant tout
dû à la lâcheté des adultes belligérants mais également à des
considérations d’ordre socio-économique.
C’est pourquoi la France agit avec détermination au sein des
instances internationales pour que cesse ce fléau. Dans un
monde où la cohérence et la constance font souvent défaut à
l’action politique, elle peut s’enorgueillir d’un engagement
ancien et continu. La France est ainsi à l’origine de trois des
sept résolutions principales de l’ONU et du premier mécanisme
de surveillance de l’évolution de la situation au sein du Conseil
de sécurité. Suite à ces initiatives françaises, ont été adoptés, en
2007, les Principes et Engagements de Paris. Ils ont permis de
définir, pour la première fois, un guide de bonnes pratiques et
d’entériner une définition commune des enfants-soldats au
niveau international. Lors du Forum annuel de suivi de ces
engagements en 2011, le seuil symbolique des 100 États
signataires a été dépassé et 105 États y ont désormais souscrit.
Ces nouvelles adhésions, ainsi que la progression de la
ratification du Protocole facultatif à la Convention
internationale aux droits de l’enfant concernant l’implication
d’enfants dans les conflits armés, démontrent une évolution
positive.
Toutefois, c’est un sujet qui devrait faire l’unanimité et ce, dès
aujourd’hui. C’est pourquoi il est indispensable d’encourager
les démobilisations, bataillon par bataillon. De nombreux
obstacles demeurent dont les risques de blocage politique, la






























































* Ambassadeur de France pour les droits de l'homme.

9
difficulté à engager le dialogue avec certains groupes armés non
étatiques, la présence continue de violateurs dits persistants sur
la liste d’infamie des Nations Unies, l’accès limité au terrain
pour les opérations de vérification en raison de l’insécurité et le
manque de financement à long terme. Deux temporalités
insolubles coexistent : le rythme inévitablement lent des
décisions politiques et la brièveté d’une vie humaine.
Concrètement, trois problèmes majeurs se posent. Comment
prévenir le recrutement d’un enfant à des fins militaires ?
Comment sanctionner les premiers responsables de ce fléau, à
savoir les adultes belligérants ? Enfin, comment dépasser les
résistances des populations et réintégrer pleinement ces enfants
dans la société ?

Prévenir
Les efforts diplomatiques doivent être accompagnés d’un
engagement sur le terrain, au plus près des réalités dramatiques
vécues par ces enfants. Si de nombreux enfants sont recrutés de
force, quelques-uns rejoignent « volontairement » les forces
armées, estimant qu’il est préférable de prendre part à une
guerre plutôt que de souffrir de la misère. Pour faire face à cette
difficulté, la France mène, depuis 2008, un programme
pluriannuel de coopération dans la région de l’Afrique des
Grands Lacs et de l’Afrique Centrale. Ce projet, destiné à la
protection, la prévention et le renforcement des capacités des
communautés, a permis de toucher au moins 13 000 enfants
dont 2 000 enfants-soldats. Il devrait être renouvelé et élargi en
2013.

Punir
Le statut de Rome de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) est
clair : tout recrutement d’enfants âgés de moins de 15 ans
constitue un crime de guerre. La première condamnation de la
CPI à l’encontre de Thomas Lubanga pour ce crime est ainsi
essentielle et pourrait faire jurisprudence La lutte contre
10
l’impunité doit également être une priorité des juridictions
nationales. Bien que des lois existent, les jugements de
tribunaux locaux pour recrutement et utilisation d’enfants
restent rares.
Faut-il regarder les enfants uniquement comme victimes ou
bien les juger en tant que responsables de leurs actes ?
L’exigence de justice s’applique également aux enfants-soldats.
Toutefois, elle se voit confrontée à la difficulté d’appliquer les
mécanismes classiques de la justice pénale internationale à des
mineurs également victimes. L’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant et
sa réintégration dans la société doivent être les objectifs
recherchés. Il faut également penser à d’autres voies de
règlements, telles que les commissions Justice et Vérité qui
peuvent constituer une alternative équitable avec des modes de
règlement non judiciaire aux conflits. À travers cette démarche,
il ne s’agit plus de sanctionner des crimes mais de mettre en
œuvre une justice tournée vers les intérêts des victimes.

Réinsérer
Condamner les recruteurs et démobiliser ces enfants ne suffit
pas. Le véritable enjeu est de surmonter la méfiance et le rejet
de la société qui continue à voir en eux une menace. Il nous faut
alors les accompagner, sur le long terme, sur la voie de la
réinsertion et les affranchir de cette perception que l’autre est
l’ennemi. Pour cela, des actions de sensibilisation doivent être
menées, tant auprès des autorités que des communautés locales.
La guerre bouleverse la place des femmes au sein de la société.
Elle peut les asservir comme les émanciper. Premières victimes
des violences perpétrées par les groupes armés, il est nécessaire
de les protéger mais également de les associer à l’effort de paix.
C’est dans cette optique que les résolutions « Femmes, Paix et
Sécurité » ont été adoptées aux Nations Unies avec la
contribution de la France. Elles appellent les États à renforcer la
protection des femmes pendant les conflits et à renforcer leur
participation aux négociations de paix et aux processus
décisionnels.
11
La France a organisé les 20 et 21 novembre 2012 un séminaire
international à Khartoum (Soudan) portant sur « l’effectivité de
la protection des droits des enfants en situation de conflit et
post-conflit », en partenariat avec l’Université de Khartoum et
l’Institut d’Études Politiques de Strasbourg. Pour la première
fois, ont été réunis autour d’une même table des organisations
non gouvernementales, des décideurs politiques, des juristes et
des diplomates. Cet ouvrage rassemble les réflexions partagées
lors de cet événement et propose des options pour parvenir à
mettre un terme à ce fléau. Un monde sans enfants-soldats est
possible.


12
INTRODUCTION



Cet ouvrage rassemble les interventions des participants du
symposium international de Khartoum (Soudan) qui s'est tenu
les 20 et 21 novembre 2012 sur le thème de "l'effectivité de la
protection des droits des enfants dans des environnements
culturels spécifiques" (situation de conflit et de post-conflit).
Organisé par l'Institut Français de Khartoum (Fonds d'Alembert
du Ministère français des Affaires Étrangères), en partenariat
avec l'Université de Khartoum (Faculté de Droit) et l'Université
de Strasbourg (Institut d'Études Politiques), cet événement avait
pour but de réunir pour la première fois entrepreneurs
politiques, du droit, de l'armée, du social (acteurs issus des
communautés locales), de l’humanitaire et du développement
(agences des Nations Unies, organisations non
gouvernementales) autour d'une même problématique : le droit
des enfants dans les conflits armés et en contexte de sortie de
crise tel qu'il existe aujourd'hui est-il affirmé, pertinent et
applicable pour répondre effectivement à cette exigence de
protection ?
En présence d'instruments internationaux, régionaux, nationaux
et locaux de protection et alors que la protection des droits des
enfants est un défi majeur en zone de conflit et post-conflit en
Afrique centrale et de l’Est (Darfour, Est Tchadien,
Centrafrique, etc.), la question se pose de comprendre comment
sont appliqués, compris et assimilés ces droits au regard de ces
contextes spécifiques, et quels sont les outils de mise en œuvre
disponibles pour une protection effective des enfants. D’un
point de vue normatif, les droits des enfants occupent une place
particulière dans les droits de l’homme. Leur référencement et
interrelation dans les différents niveaux de droit au sein des
systèmes juridiques des pays doivent alors être interrogés. D’un
point de vue sociologique, l’articulation des règles juridiques
aux normes sociales et les conditions de leur application sur le
terrain sont un autre sujet d'étude.
13
Les différentes contributions présentées lors du symposium
couvrent des sujets très diversifiés, depuis la description des
différents cadres juridiques en faveur des enfants jusqu'aux
nouveaux défis posés au mécanisme onusien de protection des
enfants ; des divers processus de réintégration des enfants
soldats à la prévention et au plaidoyer contre le recrutement
militaire des enfants ; de la congruence et du conflit entre
certaines normes de droit à la justice pour mineurs, dont la
justice transitionnelle ; du militaire "affrontant" l'enfant-soldat à
la problématique de l'engagement d'un dialogue avec les
groupes armés non étatiques ; des dispositions et débats dans les
enceintes internationales à certains éclairages spécifiques
comme celui du contexte soudanais. Puisse cette diversité de
points de vue, associée à l'originalité des idées, inspirer tous
ceux qui font progresser la protection des enfants en situation
de conflit armé.
14
PREVENTING RECRUITMENT AND USE OF CHILDREN
BY ARMED FORCES AND GROUPS
CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD


*Hilja Gebest


1. Introduction
Over the past decade, an extensive normative framework has
been put in place to prevent the recruitment and use of children
with armed forces and groups. State adherence to international
instruments such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed
conflict (OPAC), for example, has steadily increased to
151 States since the treaty entered into force in February 2002.
The fact that children continue to be associated with armed
forces and groups on a large scale however highlights the need
for an increased focus on preventing recruitment, as well as the
re-recruitment, of children.
Children’s association with armed forces and non-state armed
groups, be it forced or voluntary, is due to a number of complex
factors related both to the environment of the child as well as to
individual factors, which are often mutually reinforcing. Given
the diversity of contexts in which child recruitment occurs, any
discussion around prevention must start with a diagnosis of the
multiple factors leading to children’s association with armed
forces or groups.
Our discussion will therefore begin by setting the scene of the
different reasons why children are associated with armed
groups, be it as combatants or in support function, before
turning to prevention strategies at the national and international
levels. We argue that actions for prevention need to go beyond
capacity building, and must increasingly aim at fostering






























































* Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children
and Armed Conflict.

15
accountability for and compliance with child rights standards by
actors on the ground.

2. Recruitment of children: root causes, triggers and
enabling factors

The causes of children’s association with armed forces and
groups are many and varied. Children are more likely to be
associated with armed actors when they have limited
opportunities, are separated from their families, displaced from
their homes, or experience conflict on a daily basis.
Evidence from different armed conflicts suggests that poverty is
an important ‘structural’ factor leading to child recruitment.
Poverty often means that children lack access to education and
other basic services. Joining an armed group or armed force
may be the only way for a child to escape this lack of basic
needs. Social exclusion, often co-existing with poor economic
conditions, has been found to stir the disaffection of young
people and children and creates incentives for joining armed
groups. In Sierra Leone for example, as in many African
countries, the marginalization of certain communities has
created disaffection among youth, and joining an armed group
reportedly gave them a sense of empowerment. Witnessing
discrimination of their family or community can also push
children of that community into the hands of armed groups.
The situation of conflict and the associated feeling of insecurity
can in itself create a certain number of ‘triggers’ for
recruitment. Conflict causes fundamental changes in the
immediate social environment of children, by weakening the
family and community protection systems and disrupting the
social fabric. Children are often displaced from their homes,
separated from their families and left orphaned – all of which
makes them vulnerable to joining armed groups for protection
and survival. In addition to the physical insecurity, the
socioeconomic situation that accompanies any violent conflict
generally increases the chances of children being recruited.
Active conflict also often creates situations where military
groups and forces are in search for new recruits, resulting in the
16
abduction and the enlistment of children to fill their ranks. For
example, child protection actors have been able to ‘predict’ the
intensification of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) when observing an upsurge in the number of
children recruited prior to the escalation of the conflict. In
Chad, in the past, the integration of an armed group into the
national army has triggered an increase in the recruitment of
children prior to the integration of that group, as armed group
commanders were receiving a financial reward on behalf of
their troops, and thus recruited adults and children immediately
prior to the integration process to increase bonus payments.
In addition to the above-mentioned factors, it is often the
existence of certain weaknesses in laws, policies and practices
of states that allow under-age recruitment into national armies
to occur when other ‘favorable’ conditions are in place. These
gaps include for example the lack of birth certificates and age
verification mechanisms, the non-existence or lack of
enforcement of internal command orders to prohibit the
recruitment of children, and the absence of formalized
recruitment processes with checks and balances. Quotas and the
pressure on recruiters at the field level to fill their troops’ ranks
can have additional counterproductive effects.
In protracted conflict situations, societal norms are likely to
change, with the military life and the military commanders
becoming role models for children. In these contexts, children
and young people get used to armed conflict as part of their life
and seek opportunities within the environment it creates. For,
example, children have notoriously become agents of
recruitment themselves, as has been documented in the case of
the LRA-affected region as well as in Colombia. In other
circumstances, children live in communities where the presence
of fighters and small arms is a constant feature and the
separation of fighters and civilians is not clear. In the DRC,
community self-defence is seen as justifying the continued
existence of local militias in the face of chronic insecurity, and
children’s association with the Mai-Mai groups for example is
considered a ‘duty’ which enables them to improve their status
within the community.
17
Other key motivating factors are related to the individual
circumstances of the child, in particular its family environment,
the understanding of adulthood by the community, as well as
identity-based and ideological factors. The geographical
proximity to military camps, and the degree of protection of
refugee camps in which children reside, are additional
contributing factors. Children also join armed forces or
nonstate armed groups to escape abusive family relationships.
Others join in search of a sense of empowerment and status, as
a result of peer pressure, or because they want to revenge the
loss of family members.

3. Challenges in preventing recruitment
In countries that are undergoing or that have recently emerged
from armed conflict, characterized by weak state capacity, the
existence of armed groups, and the lack of state control over the
security forces, the challenges to effective prevention of
children’s association with armed forces and groups are
multiple. In these settings, even when the laws banning
underage recruitment exist, their enforcement through effective
investigations, prosecutions and trials of recruiters continues to
be rare. Lack of capacity of the criminal justice system, among
others, continues to account for the failure to sanction those
responsible. Governments of conflict-affected countries often
have a weak control over their territory and have limited
capacity to fight impunity. The long-term nature of security
sector reform (SSR) processes also affects the prompt inclusion
of specific legal and practical safeguards – such as disciplinary
measures – against the recruitment of children, as well as the
establishment of oversight and accountability mechanisms to
prevent under-age recruitment.
Effective criminalization can also be hindered by amnesties and
de facto immunities from prosecution granted to members of
armed forces suspected of serious human rights abuses and/or
armed groups that are integrated into the national army in the
framework of a peace process. The prioritization of peace and
stability over ‘justice’ often results in broader accountability
18
issues and negatively affects long-term solutions to human
rights and child rights abuses. Too often, national authorities
fail to investigate cases of recruitment of children and to impose
punishment, regardless of a state’s adherence to laws
prohibiting underage recruitment. Information collected by the
United Nations illustrates that investigations, prosecutions and
trials of child recruiters continues to be rare. So far, only a
handful of cases of prosecution of – mostly low-ranking –
commanders responsible for recruitment and use of children
have been conducted before national jurisdictions in less than
ten countries. The failure to prosecute perpetrators often stems
from a general weakness of rule of law and resulting climate of
impunity, as well as from a short-term view of accountability.
Another obstacle to preventing the recruitment of children is the
difficulty for the United Nations to engage with non-state
armed actors on the issue of child recruitment and use. Contact
with non-state armed groups, who prominently figure on the
annexes of the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on children
1, continues to be a major challenge, be it for and armed conflict
political or security reasons. Addressing recruitment and use of
children is often hindered by lack of access to these groups for
dialogue and monitoring, be it because the group is considered
a ‘terrorist group’, because the Government in question does






























































1 As explained later in the text, in resolution 1379 of November 2001, the
Security Council requested the Secretary-General to attach to his report: “a
list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in violation of
international obligations in situations which were already on the Council’s
agenda or could be brought to its attention as a matter which in his opinion
may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security, in
accordance with Article 99 of the Charter.” Since 2002, the Secretary-General
lists those parties to conflict that have committed the following grave
violations against children: recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape
and sexual violence, and attacks on schools and hospitals or threats against
protected persons in relation to schools and hospitals. Annex I of the Annual
Report lists parties in countries already in the Security Council’s agenda,
while Annex II lists parties in countries that are not on the Security Council
agenda.
19
not want to grant access or because the conditions are too
unsafe.

4. Measures to prevent recruitment: building the capacity
and enforcing the law
In light of the many complex ways in which children are led to
be involved with armed forces and groups, prevention strategies
must respond both to the macro/systemic issues related to the
conflict as well as the more subjective/individual factors related
to the child and his/her environment. While States should first
and foremost invest in long-term prevention strategies and
tackle the root causes of recruitment, more immediate, practical
safeguards also should be put in place to reduce protection
gaps.

Long-term measures for prevention
Among the long-term measures that can be taken in multiple
contexts are the development, dissemination and enforcement
of the law, capacity building for birth registration and
alternative age verification, the strengthening of community
prevention systems, and the provision of alternatives such as
education and livelihoods to children.
Development, dissemination and enforcement of the law
In the long-term, it is crucial that the criminal justice system
investigates and prosecutes child recruiters to create deterrents
for future acts of recruitment. Where no functioning national
justice system is in place, and where there is the political will to
prosecute, international support to build the state’s capacity is
even more crucial. However, national governments have the
primary responsibility to allocate adequate resources to national
institutions – ranging from tribunals to corrections to the
judiciary – to ensure that those responsible for recruitment of
children are investigated, tried and punished efficiently and
systematically. Thus, donor programming in the area of Rule of
Law should be carefully tailored to the existing legal
20
framework regarding under-age recruitment and should
emphasize the legal protection of children when developing
assistance and capacity support programmes.
Strengthening of community prevention initiatives
Despite the existence of strong legal and policy frameworks,
Government services often do not reach the local level.
Therefore, actions at the national level must be complemented
by measures to strengthen community-based prevention of child
recruitment, e.g. through the establishment of child protection
committees or community care coalitions. These groups may
also be formed out of existing structures, such as women’s
groups. Community protection networks can positively
influence social attitudes, behaviours and practices, particularly
where children are under social pressure to contribute to
community defence. To be effective, however, these
mechanisms need adequate and predictable funding, capacity
and knowledge to deal with child protection issues. Community
figures such as elders, traditional and/or religious leaders can
play a crucial role in changing behaviour in this regard and
have in some instances, reached out to non-State parties to
promote child protection commitments and prevent recruitment.
In parts of Afghanistan, community elders have for example
actively mediated with the Taliban to ensure the protection of
schools, and to facilitate girls’ access to education.
Providing children with alternatives
Measures to prevent recruitment and re-recruitment of children
will also need to comprise long-term initiatives designed to
provide children with genuine alternatives to joining armed
forces and groups, through access to education and national
programmes for job creation and income generation for youth.
In many settings, the majority of recruits for state and non-state
armed groups rely on young people with relatively low levels of
1education and limited employment opportunities . Children’s






























































1 Here, prevention of recruitment overlaps with conflict prevention, as e.g.
political violence is most likely to occur when there is combination of
political exclusion, poverty and social marginalization of certain groups. 

21
access to education in particular has been found to have an
important preventative effect. According to UNESCO’s
‘Education for all Global Monitoring report’, in West Africa, a
person with primary schooling was found to be 44 per cent less
likely to be involved in armed struggle than a person with no
1education .
Closely linked to the issue of providing children with
alternatives is the reintegration of children separated from
armed forces and groups. This is a critical and often neglected
measure to address underage recruitment, with resource gaps
for sustainable livelihood and training opportunities being a
continuous challenge. In order to succeed, reintegration requires
early, flexible and long-term funding. Funding must be
available during unstable periods and sustained in time to
ensure adequate support to conflict-affected children. For this,
donors must be willing to take risks in situations where stability
is not a given. Advocacy for long-term and risk-averse funding
by international donors is critical. In addition, national DDR
commissions should be urged to include the issue of children in
their mandate and make available the necessary resources.

Medium-term measures for prevention
Looking at the medium term, several complementary actions
can be undertaken. In addition to providing special protection
for vulnerable children, in particular separated and
unaccompanied children, as well as refugee and IDP children,
independent monitoring of recruitment processes can have an
important preventative effect, as discussed below.

Dialogue and training
Dialogue with armed forces and groups by child protection
actors and awareness-raising of the law prohibiting child






























































1 ‘The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education’, UNESCO Global
Monitoring Report (2011), p. 166.

22
recruitment are also critical steps for prevention. Educational
training programmes should be conducted in a systematic
manner to inform armed forces and groups of the legal
protection of children during armed conflict. In addition, the
creation of specialized child protection units in the military can
help raise greater awareness of child protection concerns among
the security forces and contribute to monitoring underage
recruitment.
Dialogue with non-state armed groups is crucial for preventing
underage recruitment, as armed groups tend to have a high
number of children in their ranks. Dialogue should be
conducted to foster personal commitment of commanders, not
only at the leadership level, but also in the lower ranks, to
create responsibility at the individual level. In the Philippines,
for example, a suggested approach has been to conduct dialogue
not only with the leadership of the armed group in question, but
also with its over 20 base commanders, not only to build
capacity on child protection issues but also to incite
commanders to sign a declaration committing them to refrain
from recruiting children.
The challenge has been to translate commitments into action.
While many NSAs continue to make commitments to the
international community to gain legitimacy and political
acceptance, these commitments are often not accompanied by
the necessary concrete measures for access to monitor
violations nor by avenues for verification, when security
permits. In the Sudan, for example, several armed groups such
as the SLA/Historical Leadership, SLA/Minni Minawi, JEM,
SLA/Abu Gasim, JEM/Peace Wing and SLA/Free-Will have
signed commitments to end grave violations against children.
However, limited access and the continued activities of armed
groups, coupled with the complexities of the Darfur peace
process, have made it difficult for the United Nations to
credibly verify the groups’ compliance with these
commitments.
Measures to hold commanders responsible, such as “report
cards”, compliance matrixes which clearly outline those
23
measures not fulfilled by UN counterparts that signed a
commitment, and naming the commanders responsible for the
lack of progress, have also helped enforce compliance at the
individual level. In Nepal, for example, these report cards have
impeded commanders from making any political gain in
recruiting children.

5. Accountability and coercion of perpetrators at the
international level
As we have seen above, preventive efforts by the international
community aimed at capacity building need to be supplemented
with strategies to seek accountability and coercion of
perpetrators at the international level. We will discuss three
strategies adopted by the United Nations. These include the
‘naming and shaming’ of perpetrators, individual sanctions and
referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition,
we will look at the UN human rights Due Diligence policy as
well as the importance of pressure by bilateral donors.

Naming and shaming, and the development of action plans
In response to increased attention to the children and armed
conflict agenda in the late 1990’s, the Security Council came up
with three important tools to tackle grave violations against
children: a list of perpetrators that commit grave violations
against children; action plans to create an incentive for
perpetrators to end violations and strengthen compliance, and a
monitoring and reporting mechanism at the country level to
provide the Security Council with UN verified information on
grave violations against children.
Since 2002, the United Nations Secretary-General has listed
parties recruiting or using children in the annexes of his annual
report on children and armed conflict. The so-called “list of
shame” clearly indicates the perpetrators to the international
community and explains which violations they are committing.
Today, this list includes 55 parties, including eight government
24
forces, in 15 country situations. To be removed from the list,
parties must enter into concrete and time-bound action plans
with the United Nations in line with Resolution 1539 (2004) to
1halt the grave violation for which they are listed .
Action plans on the recruitment and use of children aim at
releasing and reintegrating children in a structured manner as
well as institute measures for the prevention from further
recruitment and use. The framework includes activities such as
the immediate release and reintegration of children, the
criminalization of child recruitment through national legislation
as well as unimpeded access for United Nations staff to military
installation to verify the presence of children. In this sense,
action plans are important advocacy tools and provide a
2framework to put in place practical safeguards for prevention .
Progress in the implementation of an action plan is reviewed by
the Security Council and the Security Council Working Group
for Children and Armed Conflict established by Resolution
31612 (2005) . To date, eighteen action plans have been signed
between the United Nations and state armed forces as well as
non-state groups. Constraints in funding for action plans,
however can impede the systematic implementation of the
‘preventive’ provisions, with insufficient resources being
allocated to carry out all provisions of the action plan equitably.































































1 Following Resolution 1998 (2011) which extended the trigger of listing to
attacks against schools and hospitals and their related personnel, action plans
can be signed to halt the following violations: recruitment and use of children,
sexual violence, and attacks against schools and hospitals and related
personnel.

2
Preventive measures outlined in action plans include the strengthening of the
domestic legal framework prohibiting child recruitment, the issuance of
directives to the rank and file, but also the provision of proof of age, the
establishment of robust age verification procedures, and the nomination of
child protection focal points in the army.

3 In 2005, Security Council Resolution 1612 requested the establishment of a
Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM), managed by country-based
task forces co-led by UNICEF and the highest UN representative in the
country, to provide reliable information on six grave violations against
children. The Council also established a Security Council Working Group to
review progress in the development and implementation of action plans.

25
Bilateral assistance: the example of the Child Soldier
Prevention Act
Bilateral donors play a critical complementary role to the
children and armed conflict architecture. In situations where the
protection of children from involvement in armed conflict
depends on reform of the armed forces, support to security
sector reform (SSR) processes can act as a direct avenue for
preventing child recruitment. In the context of SSR, donors
have the opportunity to promote greater compliance by
providing conditional support – in the form of training,
mentoring and equipment – to those states whose armed forces
or allied armed groups use children under the age of 18 years in
hostilities, and to build legal and practical safeguards to prevent
the recruitment or use of children into the armed forces and
related institutions.
An example of this critical leverage is the Child Soldier
1Prevention Act (CSPA), which prohibits several categories of
US military assistance to governments using child soldiers.
Restrictions on bilateral military support include training,
logistical and material support, as well as limitations on
financing to Government security forces recruiting children,
generally in line with the annexes of the Secretary-General’s
Annual Reports on Children and Armed Conflict. Although, on
several occasions the United States has issued a waiver
allowing the continuation of such military aid, the prospect of
the waiver being withdrawn has encouraged Governments,
including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
Somalia, to enter into action plans to end recruitment and use of
children.
To fully leverage the ‘preventive aspects’ of the CSPA,
exceptions for assistance should be restricted to those
governments making concrete and effective progress in ending
their recruitment and use of child soldiers, including through
formal demobilization and reintegration programs. In addition,
the existence of new cases of child recruitment should not be






























































1 The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008,
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/135981.pdf

26
the only criteria in determining whether a country is listed
under the CSPA. The continued use of child soldiers and the
failure to implement UN action plans or other relevant
agreements should also be taken into account.
Despite the positive developments over the past years, there has
been a significant increase in the number of persistent
perpetrators, defined as parties that have been listed by the
Secretary-General for five or more than five years. The number
of persistent perpetrators has quasi doubled from 2011 to 2012.
Of the 55 parties listed in the Secretary-General’s 2012 report
1on children and armed conflict , over 83 per cent are non-state
armed groups. This challenge highlights the need for new
approaches to enforcement and finding better ways of reaching
out to non-state actors.

6. Security Council engagement: creating a political cost for
perpetrators
In 2005, the Security Council Working Group for Children and
Armed Conflict was created as a subsidiary body of the
Security Council to look specifically at the issue of children in
armed conflict. Consisting of all 15 Security Council members,
the Working Group meets in closed sessions to review reports
on children in armed conflict in specific country-situations, and
assess progress made in the implementation of action plans to
end violations against children, and other relevant
developments.
While the creation of the Security Council Working Group on
Children and Armed Conflict was a positive development, over
the years, it appears to also have resulted in reduced
engagement by the Security Council itself. Today, there is a
renewed need for innovative and decisive action and by the
Council to increase pressure on persistent perpetrators, and to
create a political cost for perpetrators.






























































1 Report of the Secretary-General, A/67/845–S/2013/245, 15 May 2013.

27
Security Council leadership and engagement on children and
armed conflict could be increased by holding specific
consultations on the issue of persistent perpetrators, followed
by widely disseminated statements to the press. The field trips
of the Council members could also be used for high-level
advocacy with the persistent perpetrators, and to signal to States
and non-state parties that inaction and impunity for recruitment
and use of children, as well as other grave violations against
children, will not be tolerated.

Sanctions
To date, the Security Council Committee concerning Côte
d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the
Somalia/Eritrea have included grave violations against children
in their sanctions designation criteria. The Al Quaida Taliban
and Sudan Committees have not yet included child rights
1violations in their designation criteria . The Council should
ensure that all future and current sanctions committees include
in their mandates all six grave violations against children.
As recommended by former Permanent Representative of
2France to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sablière , in the
case of those persistent perpetrators for whom all other
measures are exhausted, the Council could either create a
thematic sanctions committee dedicated to the issue of children






























































1 The Al-Qaida/Taliban Committee has not included grave violations against
children in the designation criteria. In the Sudan Committee, although there
are no specific designation criteria, grave violations against children are being
considered under human rights violations.

2 In his report entitled “Security Council Engagement on the Protection of
Children in Armed Conflict, Progress Achieved and the Way Ahead”,
Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sablière, former Permanent Representative of
France to the United Nations outlines three main strategies for bringing
persistent perpetrators into compliance with international obligations:
increased political pressure by the Security Council through full use of the
SCWG-CAAC toolkit, strengthening the sanctions regime by expanding the
criteria of existing sanctions committees or establishing a thematic or ad hoc
sanctions committee for violations against children, and close cooperation of
the Security Council with the ICC.

28
1and armed conflict , or ask the Working Group on Children and
Armed Conflict to act on an ad-hoc basis as a sanctions
committee, using the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms to
bring information from the field.
Better use could also be made of existing sanctions committees,
for example by amending the public narratives of the Sanctions
Committees to refer to violations against children by designated
individuals or groups. All Council Members should consider
submitting names of individuals or groups for sanctions, and/or
respond to proposed designations by other members. The
Council could also request concerned States to submit reports
2on measures taken to sanction violations against children .
It must be said that, for political reasons, a thematic sanctions
regime would be very difficult to achieve. Additional
challenges include the lack of identifying information necessary
to designate individuals, and the failure of more than a small
handful of Member States to submit names of individuals or
groups for designation or to respond to proposed designations.
In light of these challenges, a formal way of linking the
information on grave violations against children collected
through the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) to
the work of the Group of Experts supporting the respective
Sanctions Committees would be an important step in the right
direction.

Cooperation with national and international courts
While Security Council referrals of situations to the ICC have
only taken place on two occasions, the mere threat of






























































1 In discussions leading to the adoption of Resolution 1612 (2005), the
creation of a thematic sanctions committee was initially proposed but did not
rally consensus. The Security Council Working Group on Children and
Armed Conflict was created as a compromise.

2 For a detailed discussion of these recommendations, please see: Report of
the Workshop on Children and Armed Conflict: ‘How to Deal with Persistent
Perpetrators?’ 7/8 February 2013, Princeton University, USA, pages 5 and 6;
http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp018910jt64d/3/CAA
C_2013.pdf
29
prosecution can be a valuable tool for putting pressure on
persistent perpetrators. The verdicts by the International
Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone have
established jurisprudence on the war crime of recruitment and
use of children. The Court’s judgment against Charles Taylor
marks the first time that a former Head of State has been
convicted of war crimes against children committed by an
armed group that was found not to be under his direct command
and control. National courts should use and build on the
jurisprudence arising from the two verdicts to prosecute
persistent perpetrators.
International justice plays an important complementary role in
contexts where national courts are unable or unwilling, that is,
where they lack capacity or where the political situation does
not allow these courts to perform their functions adequately.
For these cases, cooperation between the ICC and the Security
Council Working Group could be extended. For example, the
Working Group could invite the Prosecutor or Deputy
Prosecutor to brief the Working Group on certain country
situations. The Working Group could also transmit its
country1based conclusions and recommendations to the Prosecutor .

7. Fostering compliance through the Human Rights Due
Diligence Policy
At the international level, political pressure on persistent
perpetrators could be increased if the Security Council used its
full political weight to do so.
In addition, independent monitoring of under-age recruitment
and conditioning UN support to screening of troops can act as a
powerful deterrent for potential recruiters. In the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC), armed former elements of the
National Congress for the Defense of the People, known for
committing notorious human rights violations, were integrated
into the Congolese armed forces under the 2008 Goma peace






























































1 For more detail, see report quoted above.

30