The international journal of human rights, Vol. 17, no. 4, 2013, p. 584-603
Much of the children's rights literature, especially as pertains to child soldiers, constitutes hopeful child rights advocacy, based purely on intuition. This article anchors its recommendations in humanitarian law itself, advancing three major claims : first, international humanitarian law should explicitly identify a category of combatant that it implicitly recognises - namely, the super-privileged, or victimised combatant (for individuals who are victims in virtue of being combatants rather than victims only after other harm befalls them) ; second, children are fitting candidates for populating that category ; and third, the rationale behind identifying super-privileged combatants offers sharp and feasible guidelines for the treatment they warrant, including enhanced opportunities to withdraw from combat and modified treatment in detention. Both the first and second claims are defensible not solely based on intuition, but also by reference to the Geneva Conventions and their attendant commentaries. Thus, the Geneva Conventions already contain the ingredients necessary to extend greater protection to child soldiers than is commonly acknowledged.