Let us consider the example of child soldiers. The International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed the trial against former child soldier Dominic Ongwen in September 2018. He was recruited as a child solider in the 'Lord's Resistance Army' in Uganda at the age of ten. At the same time, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Uganda signed and ratified, explicitly instructs all States Parties to take measures to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. The recruitment of Ongwen was thus a serious failure on part of the state. The jurisdiction of the ICC clearly extends to persons over the age of eighteen, therefore Ongwen is only tried for the crimes he has allegedly committed after having reached the age of maturity. This legal solution does not, however, dissolve moral ambiguity around prosecuting someone socialized into atrocities as a child.
In this situation, the legal categories of 'victim' and 'perpetrator' become too constricted to capture the problem comprehensively. In this circumstance, art allows contextualization of law by adding a dimension of experience. Reaching someone's heart may not only involve explaining the nature of an internationally recognized prohibition (of torture, for example), but also by creating a direct experience of what it means to be human with all its complexities. While the question of individual criminal responsibility gets full attention in the courtroom, artistic expression could add layers to our understanding of the problem. Art can also contribute to individual and collective healing.