STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Swedish woman has been charged with war crimes for helping enlist her 12-year-old son to fight as a child soldier in Syria, where he was killed in the civil war, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The 49-year-old woman, a Swedish citizen who returned from Syria in 2020, is the first person known to have been charged in Sweden with aiding the recruitment of her own minor son as a child soldier.
The boy, born in 2001, fought beginning in 2013 for groups which include Islamic State. He died in 2017. Authorities released no further identifying details about the mother or her child.
The woman denies the charge, her lawyer, Mikael Westerlund, said. If found guilty she faces a minimum prison sentence of four years, prosecutor Reena Devgun said.
According to the United Nations, recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law and recognised as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.
Under Swedish law, courts can try people for crimes against international law committed abroad. The trial will start on Monday, Jan. 10.
(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Peter Graff)