For the first time since World War II a child soldier has been tried for– and convicted of– war crimes. Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen accused of working for al-Qaeda, accepted a plea deal on Monday for allegedly throwing a hand grenade at US forces in Afghanistan nine years ago, when he was only fifteen years old. He will spend eight years in jail. His lawyers argued that the defendant’s “admission” was apparently elicited after he had been repeatedly subject to torture, but it was still admitted as evidence.
Khadr’s conviction as a child soldier has been widely disparaged. His extensive stay in an Afghanistan detainment camp and then Guantanamo Bay has lead many to believe that Obama’s approach at investigating accused criminals has not differed significantly from the tactics of his predecessor, despite repeated promises that this administration would be more concerned with habeas corpus, humane interrogations, due process, and human rights.