A legal analysis of how the International Committee of the Red Cross's interpretation of the revolving door phenomenon applies in the case of Africa's child soldiers
Host item entries:
African security review, Vol. 24, issue 1, March 2015, p. 3-22
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) publication "Interpretive Guidance of the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law", all civilians (including child soldiers) lose their immunity from direct targeting "for so long as" their actions amount to direct participation in hostilities. All civilians can, however, access the revolving door of direct targeting - provided the nature of their direct participation was spontaneous and disorganised. Once it can be ascertained that their participation in hostilities amounts to continuous combative functions, they relinquish their access to the revolving door of protection, and can be targeted at all times until they abandon their formal or functional membership of the belligerent group. This piece analyses how the revolving door phenomenon and the notion of continuous combative functions apply in instances where civilian child soldiers are directly participating in hostilities.