Is Targeting Naked Child Soldiers a War Crime?
This article was published by researcher Joanna Nicholson in International Criminal Law Review, vol. 16, no 1, pp. 134-157.
International law prohibits the recruitment and use of children under the age of fifteen to participate actively in hostilities. Such child soldiers constitute military targets under international humanitarian law (IHL), and the prevailing view is that they may be targeted in the same way as their adult counterparts. Although there may be moral or pragmatic reasons for avoiding targeting child soldiers if possible, there is no obligation under international law to treat them differently from an adult fighter.