International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Many South Sudan boys ‘kidnapped to be child soldiers’


In December of 2013 violence erupted in South Sudan. Currently South Sudan is in a state of civil war. The civil war has displaced about 1.5 million people from the fighting and 2.5 million are starving. The conflict is between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against rebels who side with Riek Machar. South Sudan has hundreds of cases of boys being kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers. Human Rights Watch has accused both sides of using child soldiers. The boys are abducted in Wau Shilluk by unidentified armed soldiers. The soldiers surrounded the town and went house to house taking boys 12 or over.

The use of child soldiers is recognized as an international crime. Last month it was announced that there has been an increase in the reported 89 children abductions, as reported by Unicef. Children, who were preparing for exams, were seized from a South Sudan school. It is possible the actual number may be in the hundreds.

According to the UN, 12,000 children were used as child soldiers across South Sudan last year. The government has stated that they have no control over the abductions, which are done by the Shilluk Militia, under the control of Johnson Oloni. Children as young as 12 have been spotted as child soldiers. The underlining issue that needs to be addressed is that children are being abducted from schools. South Sudan is facing international pressures and the actions of both sides are being closely monitored.


One response to “Many South Sudan boys ‘kidnapped to be child soldiers’

  1. pollorey March 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    The ethnically-driven political conflict between South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit’s loyalists and his former-deputy-general Riek Machar’s loyalists mirrors the conflict situations all too well known to the African continent: the political tension which catalyzed the Sierra Leone Civil War; the post-election violence that erupted between Kibaki supporters and Odinga supporters in Kenya; the LRA’s initiative to topple the Museveni government; and the ethnic cleansing committed by a group of government-armed and funded Arab militia against non-Muslim Darfuris. The common denominator of these power struggles that have shaken up the international stage are the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and mass atrocities that resulted. Judging by these cases investigated by the ICC, to what extent have past ICC cases in Africa been effective in deterring these crimes?
    United Nations reporter, Somini Sengupta, stated in a New York Times article that the conflict in South Sudan “has killed tens of thousands, displaced two million people, brought the country to brink of famine and left a trail of rape and killing.” The conscription and use of child soldiers, the deaths of thousands of civilians, and the displacement of millions midst the power struggle is proof of the violation of international human rights laws in South Sudan. While the premature country is not yet party to the Rome Statute, this is a great opportunity for the UNSC to issue a referral in a case in which they have a high likelihood of succeeding. The United States and China, both members of the UNSC, have both been active in the country since its birth and are making initiatives to end the conflict. As members of the Security Council, it is in their best interest to persuade the Security Council to issue a referral as to prevent any further injuries and displacements. Furthermore, this case will give the ICC an opportunity to rebuild its international image, with a second opportunity to make wrongs right in the northeastern region of the continent. Intervention in South Sudan amid the ongoing conflict would be most effective in ending the conflict. While this would add South Sudan to the already large number of ongoing cases in Africa, to the dislike of the African Union, it is crucial to the ICC’s fight against impunity and breaches of international human rights laws.


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