Children, Accountability and Justice: Advancing Restorative Justice for Child Soldiers and Child Pirates


  • Jacqueline Salomé



The variance in the international community‘s approach to justice for child soldiers and child pirates is curious – why is it that child pirates are faced with impunity or, alternatively, harsh criminal sentences, sometimes in adult courts and prisons, while child soldiers are offered restorative justice with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration? There are many commonalities in the role and experience of child soldiers and child pirates, most notably in terms of their indistinct role as victim and perpetrator. Nonetheless, the international conception of these children and the legal and policy responses to their crimes are vastly different. Restorative justice is widely accepted as an appropriate response to cope with child soldiers in post-conflict settings due to its ability to uphold the accountability of the child, prioritize rehabilitation, healing, and reintegration, and act as a prevention mechanism for re-entry into conflict. It seems the same should apply to child pirates – strangely, it does not.






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