A little light reading


As a general rule, English majors probably shouldn’t be wading through international law and war crimes legislation without adult supervision.

Nonetheless, here is Article 4 of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, signed and ratified by Canada in 2000.

Armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years.

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to prevent such recruitment and use, including the adoption of legal measures necessary to prohibit and criminalize such practices.

In our more immediate realm there is our own Parliament’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which includes the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which includes among its definitions of war crimes the “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities.”


A little light reading

  1. So this then, pretty much confirms what many of us (at least I think I can speak for others here) have thought all along.

    Harper makes stuff up as he goes along. Normally, this isn’t always a bad thing to my mind, but you need to know when not to do it. Like, when written laws exist, for example, that can be read by pretty much anyone. Anyone, like, say, a Prime Minister of a country. And in this case, ours didn’t.

    Sadly, as well as making himself look like a total moron, he’s also convinced many of his supporters to use the same talking point. A talking point that has no basis in reality, as can plainly be seen by the TWO relevant laws which both consider a child soldier to be someone “participating actively in hostilities” whether part of a state army or not.

    But, kudos to those Conservative supporters who used Kdahr’s age of fifteen as the cut-off for child soldiering. At least one of the two laws agrees with you there.

    Aaron, you said we ratified the UN thing in 2000. Do you really mean we actually signed this optional protocol? Because, if so, Article 7 states: “States Parties shall cooperate in the implementation of the present Protocol, including in the prevention of any activity contrary to the Protocol and in the rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons who are victims of acts contrary to this Protocol.”