This article unpacks the relationships between the Lubanga proceedings and how the international community conceptualizes, and strives to prevent, child soldiering. The central thesis is that the Lubanga proceedings reinforce, and curry, a stylized portrayal of the child soldier as a faultless passive victim, psychologically devastated, and irreparably damaged. These portrayals emerge rather starkly in the penal proceedings; they are much less prominent in the reparative phase of the case. This Article proceeds through several steps. First, it defines the term child soldier. Second, it discusses how child soldiers are portrayed within the international legal imagination. Third, the on-the-ground realities of child soldiering are set out. The discussion, fourthly, then moves to a detailed analysis of the Lubanga trial and sentencing judgments, which are placed within the broader discursive and sociological contexts earlier discussed. This Article concludes with an overview and brief discussion of the Lubanga reparations decision.
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