Those who unlawfully use children for military purposes should be held to account.

It is a war crime to recruit or use in hostilities children below the age of 15. The recruitment or use of children below the age of 18 is also criminalised in many states, in compliance with their obligations under international treaties.

Impunity for serious crimes committed against children during conflict remains widespread. Progress is slow, but some individuals are now being brought to justice. At the international level, the International Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone have convicted seven people (from Democatic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone) and sentenced them to terms of imprisonment for the war crime of conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15, or using them to participate actively in hostilities.

The International Criminal Court is investigating a number of other situations involving alleged recruitment and use of under-15s.

Read our blog post on ICRtoP about the prosecution of a former child soldier at the International Criminal Court.