Uganda generals could be prosecuted under new US child soldier law: report News
Uganda generals could be prosecuted under new US child soldier law: report

[JURIST] Senior officers in the Ugandan military [official website] could held responsible for the use of child soldiers under a new US law, according to a Monday report [text] in Kampala's Daily Monitor. The Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008 [text], signed into law [press release] by US President George W. Bush on Friday, provides for up to 20 years in prison for anyone found guilty of the recruitment or use of soldiers under the age of 15, and for up to life in prison if that use is associated with the death of a child. It also allows for the deportation or exclusion of that person from the US, gives the country jurisdiction over them if they are found present in the US, and provides for associated attempt and conspiracy crimes. The Monitor said that given the breadth of the bill and international allegations [CSUCS report, PDF] of child soldier use made against Uganda's military, it was possible that some Ugandan officers could be prosecuted under the law if they travel to the US. Ugandan officials were quoted rejecting the claim that military officers were guilty of using child soldiers.

In January, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a report [text] pushing for the enforcement of sanctions against 13 countries where groups or governments continue to use child soldiers [JURIST news archive] in armed combat. According to the report, child soldiers continue to be used in Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Colombia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uganda in violation of international laws that protect children in armed conflict. Ban noted that the use of child soldiers violates in particular the Geneva Convention of 1949 and its 1997 protocols, the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and its optional protocol, and the International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 [texts].