Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 November 2015, 08:46 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Côte d'Ivoire

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Côte d'Ivoire, 2001, available at: [accessed 26 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 14,526,000
    – under-18s: 7,433,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 13,900
    – reserves: 12,000
    – paramilitary: 1,500
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 21
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II
  • There are no indications of under-18s serving in government armed forces.


General Robert Guei assumed power through a bloodless coup on 24 December 1999 and in January 2000 disbanded quasi-military groups (including the Kamajors, Cossa Nostra, Cobra and Red Brigade) and the P.C. Crise that had formed within the military following the coup. However, government security forces acted independently of government authority on several occasions thereafter, most notably in military mutinies in March and July 2000 and during elections in October and December 2000. In October 2000 a people's revolt brought thousands of protesters to Abidjan where they deposed the military government in support of opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo.

Incursions by Liberian opposition fighters have compelled authorities in Côte d'Ivoire to reinforce patrols along the country's western border since 1994.494 France contributes approximately 500 troops to the Côte d'Ivoire.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

The minimum age for recruitment has been successively lowered from 21 to 18. The 1961 Law on Military Recruitment No. 61-210 (modified by Law No. 62-230 of 29 June 1962) required all men of 21 years of age to complete six months of military service. It was believed that not all 21-year-old men were enlisted, and some sources have stated that recruitment is selective.495 Decree No. 89-769 of 21 June 1989 legalised the conscription of all individuals born in 1970. This lowered the minimum age for recruitment to 18½ years of age. Furthermore, the decree required all recruits conscripted on 6 July 1987 to remain in the armed forces until 29 June 1989. Therefore, at least for this group, military service actually lasted for two years.

Article 82 of the Armed Forces Code of 7 September 1995 established a minimum age of 18 for compulsory and voluntary military service, by both men and women, and prohibited acts contrary to international law governing armed conflicts. A postponement or exemption may be granted under article 88 in order to complete education.496

Military Training and Military Schools

The Ecole militaire préparatoire technique of Bingerville, created in 1956, is a military secondary school under military command. Initially known as l'Ecole des enfants de troupe (the school of Children's troops), it was created to provide children with moral, intellectual, technical and military education in order to prepare for their recruitment into the armed forces. It is attended not only by citizens of the Côte d'Ivoire, but by children from Benin, Togo, Senegal, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Gabon.497 Information on the age of entrants is not available. Other military schools include the Centre for Naval Instruction and a program of application for the Gendarmerie, both in Abidjan. There is no available data on entry requirements.498

494 A military confrontation between Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia was averted on 23/1/99."Near military border confrontation averted", Panafrican News Agency, 10 February 1999.

495 Horeman and Stolwijk op. cit.; Report of the Secretary-General – UN doc. E/CN.4/2000/55 op. cit.

496 Initial report of the Cote d'Ivoire to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.41. para 42 and 92.

497 Military Schools in France and in the World, (as at 3/01); Africa Online, "45 ans apres, le general Conte retrouve l'EMPT de Bingerville",

498 "La cooperation militaire francaise en afrique", website of the French Ministry of Defence, at

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