Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “Children may not be recruited in armed forces.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Parties to a conflict should ensure that children under the age of 15 play no direct part in hostilities. Therefore they may not be drafted into the armed forces.”
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
1060. Children must receive the care and help that they need.
1061. This involves … not being called up for service in the armed forces or armed groups, if they are under the age of fifteen.
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or armed groups” is a crime, whether committed in an international or a non-international armed conflict.
Upon ratification of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Netherlands stated that it was of the opinion that “the minimum age for the recruitment or incorporation of children in the armed forces should be above 15 years”.