Blood Diamonds and Prosecuting Child Soldiers for War Crimes

The first person they have to kill is someone in their own family — or be killed themselves,” says Susan McKay of the University of Wyoming who has interviewed boy and girl child soliders throughout central Africa.

blooddiamond-movie-poster-sml.jpgMost girls are forcibly abducted and given roles as cooks, porters, spies, “wives” and in combat, McKay said.

[FYI: I’m an independent journalist who supports his family and the public interest writing articles about important social/environmental issues. ]

In spite of this fact legal experts believe child soldiers should be held accountable for war crimes otherwise they may be more likely to be chosen by warlords to perform the worst atrocities.

See story Prosecuting Child Soldiers For Their Own Safety

Do you like this article? It is funded by contributions from readers like you. Please click here to make a donation.

See also my other articles:

Venezuelan Smuggling Opens Door to Blood Diamond Trade
Sierra Leone’s Blood Diamonds and the Kimberley Process,

For a good introduction to the issue  watch the excellent movie Blood Diamond.

**UPDATE JAN 2010**

Blood diamond problem has largely been solved but now there may be “Blood Coltan” in your phone, ipod, and other electronic devices…read the shocking story here World’s “Grotesque Indifference” to Congo “Rape Mines”

what you can do:

Electronic Gadgets Fuel Congo “Rape Mines”

5 thoughts on “Blood Diamonds and Prosecuting Child Soldiers for War Crimes

  1. I have been doing a research paper on Sierra Leone, the first thing I wanted to research was what happens to the people that have committed some of the most atrocitious crimes. Then I learned of the children that were forced to become soldiers and the images were to disturbing to continue.

    I still believe that steps have to be taken for justice to be served, but the child soldiers are victims too. Yet, they need serious help after the events that took place and by no means would this be justice to the victims to allow these previous child soldiers to mingle back into society as if nothing happened.

    Would you feel safe to be neighbors with someone that formerly had the name “baby-killer” or raped, or mutilated anyone?

    What do you suggest?

  2. You make a very good point Saeedah which I try to address in this story
    Child Soldiers For Their Own Safety. If I recall correctly there are efforts in the Sierra Leone and elsewhere to try re-integrate child soldiers through truth and reconciliation efforts. But often they cannot go home especially the girls. Some communities accept them on the conditions that they make amends in some ways — ie work in a family’s fields that have lost someone.

    It must be incredible difficult but must be done otherwise these child soldiers will end up in criminal gangs or fighting for some other thug and the cycle of violence continues.

  3. Hi Stephan,
    I will be writing a paper on blood diamonds and was wondering if you knew of any specificities concerning the European Union’s involvement. If you have any relevant information, I would appreciate your insight. Please you or anyone reading this write to me at

    Thx you

  4. Hi,
    I am doing some research on Sierra Leone and child soldiers. I am addressing the issue of the pardon/amnesty and whether it could be invoked by children were they to be prosecuted in the domestic system. I know that the Lome accords stipulated that children are to be rehabilitated, reintegrated etc. but there is some precedent in the prosecution of children- e.g. Rwanda. What are your views on this issue?
    Thank you so much

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s