Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that: “States are bound to adopt penal legislation to prevent the … use of children under the age of eighteen in armed conflicts.”
Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2010, states:
Anyone who [commits any of the following acts] during armed conflict shall be punished with three to seven years’ imprisonment:
3. … [V]iolating the prohibitions … regarding the special protection owed to … children as stipulated by the international treaties to which Spain is a party and, in particular … [with regard to] using [children under the age of eighteen] to participate actively in hostilities.
Upon ratification of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, Spain expressed its disagreement at the Convention “permitting the recruitment and participation in armed conflict of children having attained the age of 15 years”.
In 2006, 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, Spain stated that in Spain the “involvement of persons aged under 18 in hostilities is … prohibited”.
Spain further stated:
Spain was one of the group of countries which considered that the protection given in the Convention on the Rights of the Child was insufficient in this area and supported a stronger stand against the military recruitment of minors. To that end, it made the following declaration:
Spain, wishing to make common cause with those States and humanitarian organizations which have manifested their disagreement with the contents of article 28, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Convention, also wishes to express its disagreement with the age limit fixed therein and to declare that the said limit appears insufficient, by permitting the … involvement in armed conflict of children having attained the age of 15 years.