Matthew Happold
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The legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities
International humanitarian law
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Although children have always participated in armed conflicts, international law has only recently attempted to regulate their participation. Indeed, although the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 contain a number of provisions dealing with children as civilians, the first treaties including provisions about children's recruitment and use in hostilities were the two Additional Protocols of 1977 (the APs). This chapter examines those provisions. The provisions dealing with the participation of children in armed conflict in AP I appear in Section III, on the treatment of persons in the power of a party to the conflict. AP II departed further from the traditional norms of international humanitarian law than did AP I in that it is concerned with the regulation of non-international armed conflicts. The two APs marked the beginning of the legal regulation of children's participation in hostilities.

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