Should Child Soldiers be Tried?
by Alpha Sesay, CLEAN-FBC-USL, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Alpha Sesay is my name. I am student of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone reading Law. I'm working on a Campaign To Liberaye and Educate A Nation(CLEAN). The issue of child soldiers is of great interest to me and I think it is an issue of great concern that deserves good debate so as to stop it once and for all. I especially want to address myself to the Sierra Leone situation especially that of the trial of child soldiers as it is to obtain in my country.
The big question has been whether these child soldiers are to be tried. Some think it's a way to stop the issue of child soldiers while others think trying them will worsen the situation .I personally think they should be tried especially those between the ages of 15 to 18. We all accept that these children were abducted but do we again say that those between the ages mentioned above were all forced.Let us note that Sierra Leone has registered the highest number of child soldiers and this is the first country in which he issue of a special court has been proposed and that of whether the child soldiers should be tried or not.Whatever is going to be done isgoing to be a precedent for other situations.They should be tried now so it will be a precedent and act as a deterent to other situations.Some of them committed the most heineous crimes; burning houses,chopping off limbs etc.If we say they should not be tried,what justification do we have for juvenile courts, trying children that commit minor offences in the streets? They should go through some judicial process, not the very young ones but those that gave orders between 15 and 18. They cannot be punished like adults, but can get punishments like community service and put in remand prisons for rehabilitation/cancelling.With this,generations yet unborn will see justice and it will act as a deterent to stop others doing it.They were forced we know, so were some adults.
I hope to get some response to this and the debate will continue until we get concrete solutions tothis issue.I want to thank you for launching this project.