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Armenia’s involving underage soldiers in hostilities - war crime - Ukrainian expert

15 October 2020 [18:17] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

The use of underage soldiers by any country is prohibited by the international law, Ukrainian scholar, Doctor of Law, Professor Oleksandr Merezhko told Trend.

Merezhko was commenting on the video footage disseminated on telegram channels that the Armenian authorities, having lost numerous servicemen after two weeks of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, began to involve teenagers in the hostilities.

“If the information about using underage soldiers in hostilities by the Armenian authorities is true, then we can talk about big violations of international law,” the scholar added.

“The use of teens as soldiers by any country is prohibited by upon the international law,” Merezhko added. “For example, upon the 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the countries-parties to that Protocol must ensure for the individuals under 18 not to be subject to compulsory conscription into their armed forces.”

“Moreover, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court categorizes the actions connected with the conscription or mobilization of children under 15 or their active use in hostilities within both international and non-international armed conflicts as a war crime,” the scholar said.

“There are also a number of other international acts against the use of children as soldiers,” the Ukrainian expert said. “Each fact of the use of a child by the country in hostilities must be convincingly proven, well documented and the attention of the international community and human rights organizations, especially those related to the protection of children's rights, must be drawn to it.”

Merezhko stressed that those leaders of countries who attract children under 15 to participate in hostilities are war criminals.


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