International Journal of Law and Society

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Addressing the Legacy of Colonization in the Aftermath of the Armed Conflict: What Role for Transitional Justice

Received: 10 November 2023    Accepted: 23 December 2023    Published: 11 January 2024
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Abstract

In the aftermath of armed conflicts, international law seeks to bring the child recruiters to justice. It pays no attention to the issues of colonialism at the root of child soldiering. We know today from political science research that the phenomenon of child soldiers is largely a legacy of colonization in many countries, such as the DRC. Indeed, the silence of the institutions with regard to the injustices suffered by populations during the colonial period is a major factor in the growth and persistence of this phenomenon in this country. However, this evidence is still ignored by international law when it comes to this issue. By ignoring this evidence, international law perpetuates the injustices of the colonial era. Furthermore, it fails to address the phenomenon and, as a result, children continue to join armed groups voluntarily. The objective of this research is to take a step forward by examining how international law can be redesigned to effectively achieve its purpose: to help countries build a new society after the end of a war. It does so by exploring the potential of transitional justice mechanisms to address these related issues and beyond, including the acknowledgement of the victims of child soldiers. For this research, as long as International Law and policy will keep ignoring the contexts and realities in which children come to fight, their responses in countries like the DRC will remain meaningless and ineffective. This research concludes that the extension of TJ mechanisms to injustices recorded during the colonial period could be an opportunity to access local truth to build genuine policies on child soldiering that would help restore broken societies.

DOI 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11
Published in International Journal of Law and Society (Volume 7, Issue 1, April 2024)
Page(s) 1-6
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Child Soldiers, Reparative Justice, Multi Victimization, Accountability, Victims

References
[1] See «Les organisations de défense des droits humains de la RDC soutiennent l’effort de l’ONU de réhabiliter la mémoire collective congolaise et invitent le gouvernement à saisir l’occasion pour une réconciliation sincère», 2010.
[2] See UNSC Resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005).
[3] De Berry, Jo. Child Soldiers and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2001, 575(1), 92-105. doi.org/10.1177/000271620157500106.
[4] See Reynolds, Pamela. Children of tribulation: the need to heal and the means to heal war trauma. Africa. 1990, 60(1), 1-38. doi.org/10.2307/1160425.
[5] Jourdan, Luca. Mayi-Mayi: young rebels in Kivu, DRC. Africa Development. 2011, 36(3-4), 89-112. ISSN 0850-3907.
[6] Jourdan, Luca, Vlassenroot, Koen, et Raeymaekers, Timothy. Being at war, being young: violence and youth in North Kivu. Conflict and social transformation in Eastern DR Congo. 2004, 157-176.
[7] Park, Augustine SJ. Child soldiers and distributive justice: addressing the limits of law? Crime, law and social change. 2010, 53 (4), 329-348. DOI 10.1007/s10611-010-9232-y.
[8] Human Rights Watch, on https://www.hrw.org/fr/world-report/2020/country-chapters/337417#4c2143 [Accessed 6 June 2022]
[9] United Nations, on: https://news.un.org/fr/story/2022/04/1118622 [Accessed 26 June 2022]
[10] Mani, Rama. Rebuilding an inclusive political community after war. Security Dialogue, 2005, 36(4), 522. doi.org/10.1177/0967010605060452.
[11] See for example Brett, Rachel and Specht, Irma. Young soldiers: Why they choose to fight. International Labour Organization, 2004.
[12] See for example Singer, Peter Warren. Children at war. University of California Press, 2006.
[13] See for example, Nguyen, Mai Anh. ‘Little people do little things’: the motivation and recruitment of Viet Cong child soldiers. Critical Studies on Security. 2022, 10 (1), 30-42. doi.org/10.1080/21624887.2022.2073740.
[14] See for example Calicis, Florence. La transmission transgénérationnelle des traumatismes et de la souffrance non dite [Transgenerational transmission of trauma and unspoken suffering]. Thérapie familiale, 2006, 27(3), 229-242. DOI: 10.3917/tf.063.0229.
[15] Nicolò, Anna Maria et Strinati, Eleonora. Transmission du traumatisme et défense transpersonnelle dans la famille [Trauma transmission and transpersonal defence in the family]. Cahiers critiques de thérapie familiale et de pratiques de réseaux. 2007, 1, 61-79. doi.org/10.3917/ctf.038.0061.
[16] Faúndez, Ximena, Cornejo, Marcela, et Brackelaire, Jean-Luc. Narration, silence. Transmission transgénérationnelle du trauma psychosocial chez des petits-enfants de victimes de la dictature militaire chilienne [Narration, silence. Transgenerational transmission of psychosocial trauma in the grandchildren of victims of the Chilean military dictatorship]. Cahiers de psychologie Clinique. 2014, 43 (2), 173-204. doi.org/10.3917/cpc.043.0173.
[17] Pourtier, Roland. Le Kivu dans la guerre: acteurs et enjeux [Kivu in the war: actors and stakes]. EchoGéo, 2009.
[18] Sebudandi, Christophe. Renforcer le rôle des jeunes dans la consolidation de la paix [Strengthening the role of young people in peace-building]. Pole Institute, 2019.
[19] Vlassenroot, Koen. Violence et constitution de milices dans l’est du Congo: Le cas des Mayi-Mayi [Violence and the formation of militias in eastern Congo: The case of the Mayi-Mayi]. L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, Annuaire, 2001-2002, 115-152.
[20] Rusamira, Etienne. La dynamique des conflits ethniques au Nord-Kivu: une réflexion prospective [The dynamics of ethnic conflict in North Kivu: a forward-looking perspective]. Afrique contemporaine. 2003, 207(3), 147-163. doi.org/10.3917/afco.207.0147.
[21] See for further discussion on the structurality of the armed conflict in the region, Seymour, Claudia. Ambiguous agencies: Coping and survival in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Children’s geographies. 2012, 10(4), 373-384.
Cite This Article
  • APA Style

    Molima Bameka, C. (2024). Addressing the Legacy of Colonization in the Aftermath of the Armed Conflict: What Role for Transitional Justice. International Journal of Law and Society, 7(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11

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    ACS Style

    Molima Bameka, C. Addressing the Legacy of Colonization in the Aftermath of the Armed Conflict: What Role for Transitional Justice. Int. J. Law Soc. 2024, 7(1), 1-6. doi: 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11

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    AMA Style

    Molima Bameka C. Addressing the Legacy of Colonization in the Aftermath of the Armed Conflict: What Role for Transitional Justice. Int J Law Soc. 2024;7(1):1-6. doi: 10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11

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  • @article{10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11,
      author = {Christelle Molima Bameka},
      title = {Addressing the Legacy of Colonization in the Aftermath of the Armed Conflict: What Role for Transitional Justice},
      journal = {International Journal of Law and Society},
      volume = {7},
      number = {1},
      pages = {1-6},
      doi = {10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijls.20240701.11},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ijls.20240701.11},
      abstract = {In the aftermath of armed conflicts, international law seeks to bring the child recruiters to justice. It pays no attention to the issues of colonialism at the root of child soldiering. We know today from political science research that the phenomenon of child soldiers is largely a legacy of colonization in many countries, such as the DRC. Indeed, the silence of the institutions with regard to the injustices suffered by populations during the colonial period is a major factor in the growth and persistence of this phenomenon in this country. However, this evidence is still ignored by international law when it comes to this issue. By ignoring this evidence, international law perpetuates the injustices of the colonial era. Furthermore, it fails to address the phenomenon and, as a result, children continue to join armed groups voluntarily. The objective of this research is to take a step forward by examining how international law can be redesigned to effectively achieve its purpose: to help countries build a new society after the end of a war. It does so by exploring the potential of transitional justice mechanisms to address these related issues and beyond, including the acknowledgement of the victims of child soldiers. For this research, as long as International Law and policy will keep ignoring the contexts and realities in which children come to fight, their responses in countries like the DRC will remain meaningless and ineffective. This research concludes that the extension of TJ mechanisms to injustices recorded during the colonial period could be an opportunity to access local truth to build genuine policies on child soldiering that would help restore broken societies.},
     year = {2024}
    }
    

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Author Information
  • Transnational Law Institute, School of Law, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, United States

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