Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
Chad’s Presidential Directive on Respect of Age Requirements for Recruitment into Chad’s National Army (2013) states:
… [T]he Government of the Republic of Chad adhered to the principles of the  Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as to the  Paris Principles and Commitments.
In order to guarantee respect for its commitments and to create definitively an environment that saves children from recruitments and any form of use by the armed and security forces of Chad, the present directive provides clear and precise guidelines and instructions to be respected without fault, subject to sanctions stipulated in the laws and regulations governing the armed and security forces of Chad and those relating to child protection.
Child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier (Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).
3.2. Child Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (CAAFAG)
Any person below eighteen years of age who is or who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including therefore but not limited to a child, girl or boy, used as fighter, cook, porter, messenger, spy or for sexual purposes. This term does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities (Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups).
4. RESPECT OF THE CONDITIONS FOR RECRUITMENT
4.1. Provisions on verification of the recruitment age
Recruitment into the Chadian National Army is done in accordance with the Ordinance No. 006/PR/1992 and the laws No. 11 and 12/PR/2006. For strict respect of these fundamental documents of the Chadian National Army, the following implementing measures will henceforth be in place:
4.1.1 The personnel responsible for the recruitment will beforehand receive training about the rights and protection of children in armed conflicts;
4.1.2 All the personnel responsible for the recruitment will have at their disposal a copy of the Recruitment Procedure Handbook drafted for this purpose;
4.1.3 The recruitment team will proceed with recruitment on the basis of a birth certificate, which is the only valid document for age verification and confirmation. Candidates that do not have such a certificate will be recruited only after a systematic verification of their age through a medical examination, physical check and a personal interview, in case of serious doubt about their age[.]
Registration and drawing up of documents proving identity of all children in accordance with Chad’s Civil Status Act, are indispensable for the prevention of their illegal recruitment and use by the armed forces and armed groups in the territory of Chad.
4.2.1. With regard to the government’s commitments, I ask you to instruct all members of the armed forces and security forces that any person found guilty of recruitment and use of children in Chad’s armed or security forces will face severe disciplinary and penal sanctions.
Chad’s Ordinance on the Prohibition and Repression of the Enlistment and Use of Children in Armed Conflict (2014) states: “No child must participate, nor be involved in an armed conflict, or be enlisted in armed forces or groups, in whatever way.”
In 2009, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Chad’s second periodic report, Chad stated:
The children whom the State party considers as having priority and urgently requiring attention with a view to the implementation of the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] are those in need of special protection measures [including] … children involved in the armed forces or armed groups …
On 9 May 2007, the UNICEF office in Chad and the Government of Chad signed a protocol of agreement on protecting children who are victims of armed conflict … , with a view to enforcing international instruments concerning the protection of children affected by armed conflict. Under the agreement, UNICEF is helping the Government of Chad to prevent the … use of children in armed forces and groups …
This agreement came after the Government had signed the Paris Commitments to protect children unlawfully … used by armed forces or armed groups in Chad.
A national programme to prevent … children … used by armed forces and armed groups in Chad has been in place since 2007, following the signing of the Paris Commitments and the protocol of agreement. A national coordinating body has been entrusted to ensure the proper implementation, monitoring and overall harmonization of ongoing or proposed activities of the programme, take strategic decisions and make sure that the process is consistent with the Paris Principles. It is composed of eight ministries, five United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Human Rights Commission, two human rights organizations, the Red Cross in Chad and four international non governmental organizations.
Provision has been made to implement a communication strategy and integrated communication plan for this programme in 2008.
… Information concerning children deprived of a family environment and separated from their parents is available only for the following years:
2007: 658, including … 451 children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups and separated from their parents
2008: 59 children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups and separated from their parents
[D]isaggregated data are available for children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups, as follows:
9–11 years old: 25 children, or 90 per cent
12–14 years old: 143 children, or 28.03 per cent
15–17 years old: 318 children, or 62.35 per cent
18 years or older: 24, or 4.7 per cent.
In 2011, in the Action Plan on Children Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups in Chad, signed by the Government of Chad and the United Nations Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Task Force on Grave Violations against Children in Situations of Armed Conflict, the Government of Chad stated:
The government undertakes to implement the Action Plan to stop … the use of children by the armed forces … Furthermore, through this Action Plan the government undertakes to prevent … the use of children associated with the armed forces. This Action Plan applies to the Chadian National Army (ANT) and to major associated formations, in particular to the Directorate-General of the Security of State’s Structures and Institutions (DGSSIE), Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie (DGGN) and the Chadian National and Nomadic Guard (GNNT).
The Government of Chad also stated:
2.1 The Government of Chad specifically undertakes to fully and effectively implement the following provisions:
a) Prevent and end the association of children under the age of 18 with armed forces and armed groups and guarantee their immediate release …
b) Transmit a clear military order to the military hierarchy and a policy directive to the non-military personnel to prevent and to stop … the use of children, and to ensure their prompt release.
c) Specify sanctions for violations of these orders and ensure their execution.
d) Appoint focal points with clear terms of reference and responsibilities for the implementation of the Action Plan at the highest level of the government and the associated military and paramilitary structures. This should be done in cooperation with the United Nations and [other] partners to ensure oversight, monitoring and control of the plan’s implementation …
f) Implement a concrete strategy to prevent … the use of children [by armed forces and armed groups] …
g) Criminalize the recruitment … of children in the national law; comply with international legal obligations prohibiting … the use of children by armed forces and armed groups.
h) Promptly investigate all allegations of … the use of children and bring to justice and/or take necessary disciplinary measures against all perpetrators of such crimes, including against military commanders and members of the major associated formations, and provide verifiable information about the implementation of such measures …
i) Facilitate unimpeded and regular access of UN teams on monitoring and reporting mechanism to the recruitment centres and military bases (camps, information centres, detention centers) and to other similar sites and authorise their access to military proceedings, as well as to the related documentation to allow the assessment and verification of the compliance with the commitments and activities.
j) Guarantee free, confidential and unaccompanied access to the UN Special team on monitoring and reporting mechanism and implementing partners to the concerned persons and areas, including children and their families, members of the ANT and private individuals associated with the ANT. Guarantee that no reprisals will be taken against the evaluators, the victims and the witnesses, or against any third party involved in the monitoring and reporting activities.
The Government of Chad further stated:
Article 3 – Procedure
3.1 The following framework defines the activities and the timeline for the implementation of the Action Plan.
Release and support for the reintegration of children
a) Issue a clear and enforceable policy directive to the non-military personnel associated with the ANT and to the major associated formations and a clear military order to all members of the armed and/or paramilitary forces to stop the recruitment and use of children and to ensure their rapid and orderly release. The directive must indicate sanctions in the event of non-compliance and demand reporting of the breaches to the competent authorities, so they can immediately act upon them. The order should be widely and effectively disseminated, in writing and orally.
b) Identify, control, register and plan the release of all children associated with armed forces and/or with paramilitary groups at all sites, such as military bases, training camps, detention centres, medical facilities and recruitment centres.
Recruitment prevention, awareness raising and capacity building
b) Expedite the adoption of the draft Child Protection Code, which prohibits the … use of individuals under the age of 18 [by] the national security forces and provides for sanctions for this violation of the rights of the child.
Legal and disciplinary procedures
a) Establish transparent, efficient and accessible complaint procedures for cases of child recruitment … ; information about such procedures should be widely communicated to the population. Report the cases of child recruitment … to an institution set up for this purpose.
b) In accordance with international norms on the protection of children, continue to investigate, prosecute and/or take disciplinary measures against those responsible for the … use of children by the armed forces. These procedures should allow monitoring by the UN Special Team.
The Government of Chad also stated:
Article 4 – Applicable Principles
In the implementation of their work for children affected by armed conflict, the signatories shall be guided by the following general principles:
4.7 … the unlawful use of children is a violation of their rights.