[from allAfrica.com/Lubanga Trial Website (The Hague):]
Irrespective of how Thomas Lubanga’s trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) concludes, it has indisputably helped to catapult into the global limelight the phenomenon and plight of child soldiers.
By taking former child soldiers to The Hague to recount how they were conscripted, the grueling training they endured, the battles they fought, and how they saw their fellow children kill and get killed in battle, the trial has given the world a vivid picture of the horrors of using child soldiers.
Besides the ten former child soldiers who testified, there were also expert witnesses that gave testimony on the use of child soldiers at the invitation of judges and prosecutors. The high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder among former child soldiers, why many armed groups took to using underage fighters, and the reason some families in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shunned their children who abandoned the military were some of the issues experts described to the court.
I’ve been going through a mental checklist of some of the 12-year-olds that I’ve known. The list includes some extremely rambunctious boys and some spirited girls—my little sister’s friends, an old coach’s son, a family friend, girls that I coached at volleyball camp. It’s these kids that I’ve been thinking back to as I’ve read the recent press that’s come out regarding child soldiers in Somalia.
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