Children and the First Verdict of the International Criminal Court


The war crimes of recruiting and using child soldiers were charged in multiple cases arising out of the situations in Uganda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ICC’s first trial, Prosecutor v. Lubanga, dealt exclusively with those crimes. The experiences of children thus underlay the ICC’s first verdict; that is, the conviction, sentencing, and reparations decisions that ICC Trial Chamber I issued in Lubanga in 2012. Examining those three decisions, this Article discusses how Trial Chamber I treated both child soldiering and, more broadly, the issue of children in armed conflict. The Article concludes by touching on prospects for the ICC’s future treatment of these matters. In recognition, however, of Ambassador Stephen Rapp’s description of international criminal justice as a single project whose roots may be found at Nuremberg, this Article first makes a foray into history.


child soldiers, Uganda, Lubanga, war crimes, ICC, International Criminal Court, Democratic Republic of Congo



Diane Marie Amann (University of Georgia School of Law)



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