Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Poland stated: “According to … Polish law, people under 18 … cannot participate in military actions.”
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning its initial report under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Poland stated with regard to a question on whether it assumes extraterritorial jurisdiction over the war crime of using children to participate actively in hostilities:
[D]raft art. 124, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code included in the government’s draft law amending the Penal Code act, the law Regulations Introducing the Penal Code, and the law Code of Penal Proceedings, provide for complementing the list of war crimes with, among other [things], penalising behaviour consisting in … “whoever breaching international law … uses such persons [under 18 years of age] to participate in hostilities.” The draft amendment is currently in the process of agreements between ministries. Once it becomes valid, all forms of using children in armed conflicts will be penalised as war crimes.