Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Children under the age of 15 shall not be recruited in the armed forces.”
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Argentina stated:
Argentina collaborated actively with the open-ended intersessional working group on the draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on involvement of children in armed conflicts. In the working group, Argentina maintained its firm position on establishing a universal minimum age of 18 for recruitment by government forces and on the implementation of all norms of international humanitarian law that prohibit the recruitment of minors by non-governmental armed groups involved in hostilities as combatants. However, if those groups do not have the status of combatants, the recruitment of children should constitute a violation of domestic law.
Argentina also stated:
Article 8, paragraphs (c) and (d), of the Act [No. 24.429 of 1995] set the following conditions for admission to voluntary military service: “to be between 18 and 24 years of age” and “in the case of minors, to have the permission of their legal guardian” (bearing in mind that the age of majority in Argentina is 21).
Argentina further stated: “When it ratified the Optional Protocol [on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict], Argentina declared the minimum age for voluntary recruitment in the national Armed Forces to be 18.”