International Conference

Children's Fights

Commonalities and Differences Across Time, Space and Place

International Conference (hybrid format)  ::  5-7 April 2023

This conference explores children ensnared in violent situations. It considers the kinds of ‘fights' in which children become involved: armed conflict, liberation struggles, criminalized violence, and securing of economic and political well-being. The conference offers an inclusive blend of voices from the Global North and Global South hailing from a dozen different jurisdictions. Speakers have expertise from a broad array of disciplines and a full gamut of career stages. Our goal is to better understand children's fights so as to improve reintegration and rehabilitation, and build a vibrant culture of juvenile rights.




  • 12:30 p.m. : Registration at Event Venue: Room 114 in 2 South Main Building
  • 1:00 p.m. : Welcome; Introduction by the Organizers

PANEL 1 : JOINING FIGHTS (1:15-3:15 P.M.)

Moderator: Mark Drumbl

  • Sultana Mafruza (PhD student, South Asian (SAARC) University, India)
    Involvement and abuse of children in the commission of acts of terror and violent extremism in Bangladesh: Protection of child rights in the legal framework
  • Maria-Paula Espejo (PhD student, Western University, Canada), Yadira Lizama-Mué (PhD student, Western University, Canada) & Juan Luis Suárez* (Professor, Western University, Canada)
    The evolution in the utilization of children and youth in Colombia's armed conflict: A natural language processing analysis
  • Maya Nguyen (Lecturer [Assistant Professor], University of London, UK)
    Participation of children in the Vietnam war: Communism, Confucianism, and childhood
  • Thomas Furaha Mwagalwa (Professor, Official University of Bukavu, DRC)*
    Au-delà de l'enfant-soldat ! Des autres formes d'implication d'enfants dans la violence et des mécanismes de leur éradication dans un contexte de pauvreté généralisée

POSTER SESSION (3:30-4:30 P.M.)

Moderator : Mohamed Kamara

DINNER (7:00 P.M) Southern Inn Restaurant


PANEL 2 : LEAVING FIGHTS (09:30 A.M-12:00 P.M.)

Moderator: Karl Hanson

  • Gaël Cédric Mbida Awono (Researcher, University of Yaoundé II)* & Yannick Ntsoame (Researcher, Institut Universitaire des Sciences et Technologies de Yaoundé, Cameroon)*
    Savoir expert guerrier et réinsertion socioprofessionnelle des enfants soldats dans des «états fragiles» d'Afrique subsaharienne. Analyse comparée, République Démocratique du Congo et Tchad
  • Olanike Adelakun (Lecturer, American University of Nigeria) & Adelakun Adedayo (Lecturer, Lead City University, Nigeria)
    Deradicalization and social integration of defected Boko Haram militants in Nigeria: A review of The Yellow Ribbon Initiative
  • Sylvie Bodineau (Researcher, York University, Canada)
    From child soldiers to struggling citizens: Children and youth over postcolonial times
  • Myriam Denov (Professor, McGill University, Canada)
    Children born of genocidal rape in Rwanda: In search of recognition, advocacy and activism
  • Yousra Hasona (Lawyer & Human rights consultant, Palestine)
    Restorative justice: an approach to work with child soldiers in the Arab Spring countries

LUNCH (12:00 P.M-1:00 P.M.)

PANEL 3: CROSS-OVERS (1:00 P.M-3:30 P.M.)

Moderator: Jastine C. Barrett

  • Silvia Scarpa (Associate Professor, John Cabot University of Rome, Italy)*
    Guilty victims or not? A comparison between the non-punishment principle for victims of child trafficking and for child soldiers
  • Ingeborg Gruenwald (Master's student, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
    Afghanistan's Bacha Posh girls: Gender-based violence and psychological trauma within the broader context of an armed conflict
  • Barbora Holá (Associate Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands)* & Mark Drumbl (Professor, Washington and Lee University, USA)
    Children as spies, informants, and denouncers
  • Stacey Hynd (Associate Professor, University of Exeter, UK)
    ‘Rebellion' and ‘rehabilitation': Child and youth insurgents in anti-colonial liberation movements and colonial counter-insurgency
  • Izabela Steflja (Assistant Professor, Wilfred Laurier University, Canada)* & Jessica Trisko Darden (Assistant Professor of Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)
    Media representations of Dominic Ongwen and implications for children associated with armed groups


Moderator: Christelle Molima Bameka

  • Thierno Souleymane Barry (Professor, Université Général Lansana Conté de Sonfonia-Conakry, Guinea Conakry)
    L'implication des enfants pendant le mouvement de résistance civile contre le troisième mandat en Guinée : Entre participation active, instrumentalisation et violation de leurs droits fondamentaux
  • Mohamed Kamara (Professor, Washington and Lee University, USA)
    Childhood, victimhood, and agency in Namina Forna's The Gilded Ones and Kim Nguyen's War Witch
  • Erica Burman (Professor, University of Manchester, UK)
    Sherwood and class war: We were all young
  • Paul Morrow (Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Dayton, USA) & Shannon Fyfe (Assistant Professor, George Mason University, USA)
    Cameras everywhere among perpetrators: Weighing video evidence of contemporary atrocity crimes
  • Melissa Hollobon (Research and Policy Analyst, Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, Canadian Forces College, Canada)* & David Hughes (Professor, Canadian Forces College, Canada)*
    Child protection in a digital age

DINNER (7:00-P.M.) Alumni House



Moderator : Trésor Maheshe Musole

  • Renée Nicole Souris Smith (Assistant Professor, Florida Institute of Technology, USA)
    What good are we doing? Toward a virtue ethics approach to child soldiering
  • Jana Tabak (Assistant Professor, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
    Tools of war, tools of state: Stories of military recruitment of children in global north-south relations
  • Kirsten Fisher (Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
    Reflections on Time, Children's Fights, and Transitional Justice : Lessons from Uganda
  • Hedi Viterbo (Associate Professor of Law, Queen Mary University of London, UK)*
    Beyond the child/adult distinction in armed conflict

WRAP-UP & CONCLUSION (10:30-11:00 A.M.)

  • Jastine C. Barrett (Associate Lecturer, University of Reading, United Kingdom)
  • Mark Drumbl (Faculty of Law, Washington and Lee University)
  • Karl Hanson (Centre for Children's Rights Studies, University of Geneva)
  • Mohamed Kamara (Faculty of Romance Languages, Washington and Lee University)
  • Trésor Maheshe Musole (Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Bukavu)
  • Christelle Molima Bameka (Visiting Scholar, Washington and Lee University)


The organizers are immensely grateful to the generous support of the following units of Washington and Lee University: the Frances Lewis Law Center, the Center for International Education, the Office of the Provost, the Class of 1963 Scholars in Residence Program, and the Office of the Dean of the Law School.

Please note that lunch on the first day, April 5, will not be provided. There are several cafés within a few minutes' walk of the hotel and conference venue. We plan on offering lunch on April 6 and then a take away lunch (along with sit down) on April 7.

The conference hotel will be The Gin, 30 S Main St, Lexington, VA 24450

The conference venue will be Room 114, 2 South Main Building

Zoom participation indicated by *