On May 26, 2021 the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Dominic Ongwen to 25 years in prison. As a young child Ongwen was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and underwent training and indoctrination to become a child soldier. He soon rose within the ranks and became a major at the age of 18 and brigadier of the Sinia Brigade by his late twenties. Since Ongwen was forcibly recruited as a child soldier by the LRA, some would say he is a victim, not a perpetrator.
This is only one illustrative case, there are many more children around the world who have faced the same fate; being abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers. The issue of child soldiers in conflicts has been the subject of broad interest in the academic debate over time. The upcoming JASON event is a panel discussion between several experts, who will dive into this exact dilemma, ‘Should child soldiers be considered as victims or perpetrators?’
If you’re interested to learn more about the topic, make sure to join the very first JASON event of 2022 on January 27 from 20:00 to 21:00. Moreover, for now, JASON assumes this event will have to be held online via Zoom (register via the link in bio!) but if COVID-19 measures allow it at the time we will opt to host the session at FGGA Leiden University - Wijnhaven as well.