Thursday, October 12, 2006
"The recruitment of child soldiers is one of the most heinous war crimes, and among the most forgotten. Perhaps a quarter-million children - most in their teens but some as young as 7 - are forced to serve in government or insurgent armies in 20 countries around the world. Not only are they ordered to kill and torture, they often become victims of physical and sexual abuse. When they do return to civilian life, they are walking ghosts - damaged, uneducated pariahs.
But now something has happened that may force guerrilla leaders and government officials who recruit children to think again. The International Criminal Court, established to bring the most serious international criminals to justice, is beginning its first prosecution - of a defendant charged with the use of child soldiers. He is Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, leader of a Congolese militia responsible for ethnic massacres, torture and rapes in the east of the country." By New York Times, Herald Tribune, Link to Article (last visited 10-12-06 NVS)