Skip to main content
Palgrave Macmillan

Child Soldiers and the Defence of Duress under International Criminal Law

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Offers rigorous and comprehensive insight into how the defence of duress would apply to child soldiers
  • Identifies a normative legal framework that helps understand how the defence of duress is interpreted and applied in international criminal law
  • Develops the theme of perpetrators who are also victims and offers a nuanced approach towards perpetrators of mass atrocities

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this book

eBook USD 16.99 USD 64.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book USD 16.99 USD 84.99
Discount applied Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access

Licence this eBook for your library

Institutional subscriptions

About this book

This book investigates the use of duress as a defence in international criminal law, specifically in cases of child soldiers. The prosecution of children for international crimes often only focuses on whether children can and should be prosecuted under international law. However, it is rarely considered what would happen to these children at the trial stage. This work offers a nuanced approach towards international prosecution and considers how children could be implicated and defended in international courts. This study will be of interest to academics and practitioners working in international criminal law, transitional justice and children’s rights.

Similar content being viewed by others


Table of contents (6 chapters)


“Although legal scholarship is replete with references to child soldiers being victims as well as perpetrators, this is the first study to carefully examine how that dichotomy would affect an actual prosecution of a child soldier for an international crime. The authors demonstrate with great skill that the most relevant defence available in such a prosecution — duress — is simply incapable of adequately capturing the complex nature of a child soldier’s culpability. Lawyers and judges, and scholars alike should heed their warning.” (Kevin Jon Heller, Associate Professor of Public International Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Professor of Law, Australian National University, Australia)

“Duress is a controversial defence, both at the national and the international level. Finally, we have a thorough and compelling study on the matter, the work of two distinguished international criminal law scholars. It arrives not a moment too soon, as the International Criminal Court confronts the issue in the Ongwen case.” (William A. Schabas, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University, UK)

“This book offers a clever and detailed doctrinal examination of the intersection of duress and youth, which, along the way, also sheds light on vexing questions of agency and intent amid processes of brainwashing and searing social constraint.” (Mark A. Drumbl, Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University, USA)



Authors and Affiliations

  • Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

    Windell Nortje

  • Bristol Law School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

    Noëlle Quénivet

About the authors

Windell Nortje is Associate Lecturer in the Law Faculty at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. 

Noëlle Quénivet is Associate Professor in International Law at the Bristol Law School, University of the West of England, UK. 

Bibliographic Information

Publish with us