Dignity, Development, and the Gravity of Child Soldiering

Renée Nicole Souris
Florida Institute of Technology
This paper critically examines different formulations of the view that the crime of using child soldiers is less serious than other international crimes. The first formulation presents a sociological argument toward this conclusion and the second a deontological argument. After arguing that the second formulation is stronger, because it is grounded in a coherent ethical framework, I then construct a deontological argument to counter it, which construes the wrong of child soldiering as an attack on the developing child's right to dignity, where dignity is understood through a Kantian lens as a person's moral agency.
Keywords child soldiers  gravity  dignity  international crime  moral development
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