Campaigning for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, Democracy, the Rule of Law and International Justice
International Justice and Children
NPWJ undertakes research and advocacy on the effect of international criminal justice and other accountability mechanisms on:
(a) crimes committed against children;
(b) crimes committed by children; and
(c) crimes witnessed by children
There is a need for more coherent and effective policies and operational guidelines on the role of children in transitional justice, and the impact of transitional justice on children. Children need to be given a greater role as stakeholders in transitional justice processes in order to ensure the effective functioning and credibility of those processes. Since children represent the future of their countries and will inherit the results of any transitional period, it is crucial for transitional justice mechanisms to be effective and relevant for them in order to contribute to ending of impunity, restoring the rule of law and protecting human rights, now and in the future.
The issue of children and their participation in international criminal justice and other accountability mechanisms continues to grow in relevance and urgency, particularly given the number of child victims, witnesses and perpetrators of crimes under international law, and the measures being taken to address the issues by various actors, including the ICC. The participation of children in international criminal justice and other accountability mechanisms is now one of the major policy issues facing international criminal justice today.
NPWJ has specific experience and expertise on the issue of children and transitional justice, having co-authored a number of books and papers on the subject, including the seminal 2002 publication with the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre on “International Criminal Justice and Children”, and having cooperated closely with UNICEF in drafting a brief on the customary law status of child soldiers that was submitted to the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the case of The Prosecutor v Hinga Norman.
- Alison Smith, “Basic Assumptions of Transitional Justice and Children”, March 2010, in “Children and Transitional Justice”, Harvard University Press, March 2010
- “International Criminal Justice and Children”, NPWJ and UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, September 2002
- UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), The Prosecutor against Sam Hinga Norman. Amicus Curiae of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 21 January 2004