This article explores the position of international law on the recruitment of and participation in hostilities by children associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG) with the aim of assessing the level of protection afforded to CAAFAG under different international law regimes, specifically international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law. In so doing, the article engages with global and regional normative standards on the relevant age of the prohibition against recruitment and participation of children in hostilities and the activities envisioned by the prohibition. It assesses how the different regimes diverge from, relate to, interact with and complement one another. Ultimately, the paper reveals strengths and weaknesses unique to each and general to all the regimes and explores ways of harnessing international law’s strengths to mitigate its weaknesses and afford the maximum possible protection to CAAFAG.
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