Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 37–48 | Cite as

Reimagining the Unimaginable? Reflections on Mark A. Drumbl’s Vision of Child Soldiers

  • Steven Freeland
  • Pernille Walther


The existence of child soldiers is a problem of the ages, and there are no positive signs that it is abating. The difference now is that, with the development of modern weapons technology, children can be involved in large scale and horrific acts during conflicts. The circumstances surrounding the use of children to wage war will vary from situation to situation. Yet, it has been suggested that many people seem to have a ‘single focussed’ view of what child soldiers look like, what their motivations are, and why they are engaged in activities associated with conflict. This article reflects on the recent views expressed by Mark A. Drumbl, who argues that we should ‘reimagine’ child soldiers, and offers some further views as to how this issue should best be addressed.


International criminal law Child soldiers International justice 


  1. BBC News, ‘Syria crisis: Children ‘recruited’ by armed groups’, 13 March 2013, <> (last visited 7 November 2013).
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  4. Mark A. Drumbl, ‘Waging War against the World: The Need to Move from War Crimes to Environmental Crimes’, in Jay E. Austin and Carl E. Bruch (eds.), The Environmental Consequences of War: Legal, Economic, and Scientific Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 620-646.Google Scholar
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  7. Steven Freeland, ‘International Criminal Governance: Will the International Criminal Court be an ‘Effective’ Mechanism for Justice?’ in Michael Head, Scott Mann and Simon Kozlina (ed.), Transnational Governance: Emerging Models of Global Legal Regulation (United Kingdom: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 213-243.Google Scholar
  8. United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), Press Release, ‘MONUSCO alarmed by child recruitment in the DRC’, 23 October 2013, <> (last visited 8 November 2013).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Western SydneySydneyAustralia

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