International Criminal Law Review 16 (2):258-286 (2016)

William Hirstein
Elmhurst College
Katrina L. Sifferd
Elmhurst College
Tyler Fagan
Elmhurst College
Child soldiers, who often appear to be both victims and perpetrators, present a vexing moral and legal challenge: how can we protect the rights of children while seeking justice for the victims of war crimes? There has been little stomach, either in domestic or international courts, for prosecuting child soldiers—but neither has this challenge been systematically addressed in international law. Establishing a uniform minimum age of criminal responsibility would be a major step in the right direction; we argue that such a standard ought to be guided by the best evidence from neuropsychology about the development, during childhood and adolescence, of the executive functions that give rise to morally and legally responsible agents. In light of that evidence, which suggests that the brain’s executive functions are still maturing into early adulthood, we recommend a graded structure of culpability for child soldiers.
Keywords Child soldiers  Criminal Responsibility  International Law
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The Structure of Virtue.Julia Annas - 2003 - In Linda Zagzebski & Michael DePaul (eds.), Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives From Ethics and Epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 15--33.
Fractionating the Central Executive.Alan Baddeley - 2002 - In Donald T. Stuss & Robert T. Knight (eds.), Principles of Frontal Lobe Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 246--260.

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