A child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes. Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict 2007.
The United States, in its long-running tradition of only following the international laws it agrees with, is not a signatory to the Paris Principles on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. This is what immediately came to my mind when the recent shooter of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was identified as Nikolas Cruz, an expelled student who had been in his school’s JROTC program, even being awarded medals for it. It was in my head again when his social media began to be uncovered and verified by surviving students, particularly an Instagram account where he is often pictured wearing different Army hats.