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The Myths, Realities, and Futures of Child Soldiers

Imagine a child soldier. You probably think of a poor African boy, no older than ten, forced by ruthless commanders to take drugs and fire guns whenever and wherever directed. And this image completely contradicts the reality for the vast majority of child soldiers.

Washington and Lee School of Law interviewed Professor Mark Drumbl, author of Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy, and discovered the myths and realities of child soldiering. What’s more, this distorted images inform the place of a child soldier in local and international justice systems — to the detriment of victims, communities, and the child soldiers themselves.

The Image and the Reality of Child Soldiers

The Facts About Child Soldiers

What Happens to Child Soldiers After Conflict

Mark A. Drumbl is the author of Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy. He is the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington & Lee University, School of Law, where he also serves as Director of its Transnational Law Institute. He has held visiting appointments with a number of law faculties, including Oxford, Paris II (Pantheon-Assas), Trinity College-Dublin, Melbourne, and Ottawa. Drumbl has lectured and published extensively on public international law, international criminal law, and transitional justice. His first book Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law (CUP, 2007) has been widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. He initially became interested in international criminal justice through his work in the Rwandan genocide jails. Drumbl holds degrees in law and politics from McGill University, University of Toronto, and Columbia University.

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Recent Comments

  1. David Taransaud

    I recently traveled to Northern Uganda and set up an art therapy service in an orphanage for former child soldiers and young people affected by conflict and trauma.I came back a week ago and I am hoping to return in a few months to carry on with the work. Below is the short movie I made while I was there;

    I would appreciate if you watch the clip and forward the link to friends and colleagues. I’m hoping it’ll help to promote the awareness and the sponsorship of war orphans at the orphanage and with a bit of luck, raise financial funds for further resources.

    I please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you’d like more info about this project or how you can support the orphanage.


    Thank you very much.

  2. [...] about these recent events in journals, blogs (here and here), and he has also spoken about them in you tube format. Reimagining Child Soldiers has received positive initial review, including on the Lawfare blog. [...]

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