Girl Soldiers and Participation in Hostilities


Quénivet, Noëlle. 2008. “Girl Soldiers and Participation in Hostilities.” African Journal of International and Comparative Law 16 (2): 219–35.

Author: Noëlle Quénivet


Recently, organisations working with former child soldiers have observed the growing number of girls involved in armed conflicts. While their fate as sexual slaves is well documented, their participation in hostilities is less acknowledged. Girls, like boys, spy, loot, and kill, but they also cook, clean, and run camps. International humanitarian law, human rights law and international criminal law ban the participation of children in armed conflicts. However, the interpretation of the expression ‘participation in hostilities’ leaves open the possibility that the activities carried out by girls do not fall within the purview of this prohibition, and that, hence, their recruiters are not breaching the aforementioned legal norms.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery

Year: 2008

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