• Windell NortjeEmail author
  • Noëlle Quénivet


Child soldiers are not only victims but also perpetrators international crimes. This chapter argues that the concept of child soldiers challenges a number of binary models such as child/adult, good/evil and victim/perpetrator upon which criminal justice processes and society more generally rely. Although the predominant narrative frames children as innocent, dependent and in need of protection, international law does not prohibit the prosecution of child soldiers for international crimes. Should they face justice, they can rely on several grounds for excluding criminal responsibility, including duress which is mentioned as the most appropriate defence since child soldiers are often forced to commit atrocities and viewed as victims. This chapter then explains the method and methodology adopted for this study and sets out the scope of the book which is to examine whether child soldiers can successfully invoke the defence of duress when prosecuted for international crimes.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Bristol Law SchoolUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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