Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
Norway’s Penal Code (1902), as amended in 2008, states: “Any person is liable to punishment for a war crime who in connection with an armed conflict … conscripts or enlists children under 18 years of age into armed forces”.
At the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1999, Norway pledged “to promote the adoption of national and international standards prohibiting the military recruitment … in armed conflicts of persons under 18 years of age”.
In 2006, 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, Norway stated that “the Government of Norway [has] declared, in accordance with article 3, paragraph 2, of the Protocol, that the lower age for recruitment for voluntary service in the armed forces is 18 years”.
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council on “Children and Armed Conflict” –made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – the permanent representative of Finland stated:
Recruitment of boys and girls to take part in hostilities is a violation of international law, and a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. The (nearly) universal recognition of the prohibition on recruiting or using child soldiers must be matched by effective implementation on the domestic level. The first case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to have proceeded to trial phase, the one against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, is a milestone in the efforts to end impunity for the use of child soldiers. …
The Nordic countries wish to emphasize the need for all parties to relevant situations of armed conflict to present concrete, time-bound action plans with detailed descriptions on how they will end and prevent the recruitment of child soldiers …
[W]e would like to reiterate our encouragement to the SC [Security Council] and to the entire UN system to give children in armed conflict the attention they deserve.
In 2010, in a statement at the Oslo Conference on Armed Violence, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: “We must stop the recruitment of children and young people into wartime militias.”
In 2010, in a statement before the UN Security Council on “The Promotion and Strengthening of the Rule of Law in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, Norway’s permanent representative stated:
Norway is encouraged by the Security Council statement expressing readiness to impose targeted measures against persistent violators of international law by recruiting … children in war. We are supportive of the proposals of the Secretary General to include child recruitment and its use in the mandate of all sanctions committees.
In 2010, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”, Norway’s Counsellor at its Permanent Mission to the UN stated: “We support the Secretary General’s proposals to include the recruitment … of child soldiers in the mandate of all sanctions committees”.