Children and the law of armed conflict : looking beyond the protection paradigm
John Tobin and Elliot Luke
Routledge handbook of the law of armed conflict
London ; New York : Routledge, 2016
The appalling experience of children in armed conflict has motivated the creation of a complex international architecture to ensure their protection. In 2003, the UN Security Council called for ‘an era of application’ with respect to the various legal norms which the international community has developed in order to protect children associated with armed conflict. This chapter aims to identify the central features and underlying values of these norms. Section 1 provides a brief historical analysis, which reveals a shift in states’ attitudes towards children, moving from a historically instrumentalist vision to the contemporary child protectionist paradigm. Section 2 examines the content of the legal norms, particularly as they relate to the recruitment of children and their participation in conflict, and seeks to identify the applicable law. Finally, Section 3 looks beyond the child protection paradigm that dominates the current understanding and application of the law of armed conflict as it relates to children.