Jeffery R. Ray


This paper shows that the use of child soldiers in armed conflict has the potential to be considered as genocide. A brief background of genocide is presented prior to the analysis. Part I of the analysis will discuss three issues: first, the modern understanding of genocide and the substantive areas of law that govern it; second, the definition of “child” within the international arena as it relates to child soldiering; third, a discussion to determine if children can constitute a “group” in the context of the law of genocide.

Part II provides a discussion elaborating on Part I, then analyzes the five disjunctive elements of genocide. A general rule will be synthesized for each element. General rules are synthesized from judicial decisions interpreting the genocide regime, soft law, and scholarly writings. Each element includes an analysis to determine applicability of the element as it relates to child soldiers.