Crimes committed by child soldiers: an argument for coherence

Nikila Kaushik, Steven R. Freeland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


Criminal justice systems around the world rest on the principle that, in order for persons to be punished and held responsible for their actions, their behaviour must have contained both physical and fault elements. The prosecution must prove that at the time of committing a criminal offence, an accused person performed a particular physical act (actus reus) while holding a particular state of mind (mens rea). Many jurisdictions presume a lack of mens rea for children below a certain age by defining a minimum age of criminal responsibility. Domestic jurisdictions identify an
age – usually between 10 and 14 – above which a person has the capacity to be held criminally responsible. For the most part, children between the minimum age of criminal responsibility and the age of adulthood (usually 18, but 21 in some jurisdictions) proceed in a juvenile justice system that is differentiated from the regular judicial and correctional system for adults.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Child Soldiers
EditorsMark A. Drumbl, Jastine C. Barrett
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781788114486
ISBN (Print)9781788114479
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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