After ISIL: Justice and Protection for Children in Iraq

John Millock
Content Type
Journal Article
Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
Issue Number
Publication Date
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
ISIL recruited children through a variety of means, including abducting children from orphanages and hospitals, or offering to pay parents hundreds of dollars a month in exchange for each child’s attendance at military training. Additionally, child soldiers were often taken from particular ethnic groups or religious communities, such as Yazidis and Christians, as a means to terrorize these groups. Since the territorial collapse of ISIL began in 2017, many of these child soldiers have defected; some fled ISIL territory and are living anonymously in Europe while others returned to their home countries. Debates about how national legal systems should handle these former child soldiers have arisen in all of these jurisdictions. In Iraq, which has dealt with a particularly large number of former ISIL child soldiers, there have been concerns about the national justice system’s capacity to adequately address the prosecution and rehabilitation of ISIL’s former child soldiers.
United Nations, Law, Children, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Criminal Justice
Political Geography
Iraq, Middle East