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This Essay, in Part I, will begin with an overview of the use of child soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. Part II will explore provisions within the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Beijing Rules that are applicable to child soldiers and can shed some light on their culpability after an armed conflict. In Part III, this Essay will then discuss the varying degrees to which international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court have addressed the criminal responsibility of children for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Finally, Part IV will analyze this fragmented body of international criminal law and identify two overarching elements it shares: the best interest of the child standard and the emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration. This Essay will argue that, in light of this consistent message and the realities of child soldiering, international criminal law must fix the minimum age of criminal liability at eighteen. This Essay will go on to argue that, should a State insist on prosecuting children during negotiations with the United Nations to create a hybrid domesticinternational tribunal, a distinct legal standard with explicit protections for young perpetrators must be put in place.



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