This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides a critical exposition of the international law concerning child soldiers. It starts by looking at the situation of child soldiers in the world today, examining why children are recruited into armed forces and groups; why they volunteer for military service; and, once recruited, what treatment they receive. The book then discusses how perceptions of childhood and children's rights have changed, and how this has affected the ways in which child soldiers have been treated. Next, it describes the activities of the United Nations with regard to the child soldier phenomenon. The book examines the legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities. Finally, it provides a brief conclusion, which is intended to reprise and analyse the various themes appearing throughout the previous chapters.
An Optional Protocol has been adopted and most states have renounced the forced recruitment of children. Indeed, the prohibition of the compulsory and forcible recruitment of children may be becoming a rule of customary international law. There is a substantial body of rules governing the recruitment and treatment of child soldiers, and they have been the subject of considerable augementation and development in recent years. Recent years have undoubtedly seen developments in how international law governs the activities of such groups, culminating in the prohibition of all recruitment of children by them set out in the OP. However, the growth in legal regulation has not been accompanied by any increase in compliance. Not only does international law regulate when and under what conditions children can be recruited and used in hostilities, but it has also begun to address the consequences of failures to comply with these rules.
This book provides a critical exposition of the international law concerning child soldiers. It starts by looking at the situation of child soldiers in the world today, examining why children are recruited into armed forces and groups; why they volunteer for military service; and, once recruited, what treatment they receive. The book explores how perceptions of childhood and children's rights have changed, and how this has affected the ways in which child soldiers have been treated. It describes the activities of the United Nations with regard to the child soldier phenomenon. The book examines the legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities. It shows that although international law comprehensively regulates the recruitment and use of child soldiers, owing to the plethora of treaties on the subject, states' obligations continue to differ and children can still lawfully be recruited and used to participate in armed conflict. The book discusses how, once recruited into armed forces and groups, international law treats child soldiers. It considers the status of child soldiers as combatants and as persons in the power of an adverse party in both international and internal armed conflicts, and states' obligations with regard the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of child soldiers. An unusual feature of how child soldiers are viewed is that they are often seen as both victims of human rights abuses and as human rights violators. Finally, the book examines the extent to which the recruitment and use of child soldiers is an international crime.
Precise statistics are impossible to come by, but more than 300,000 children are believed to be serving as soldiers in conflicts across the world today. Child soldiers have served in conflicts in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. If the statistics are accurate, the recruitment of children is growing. These statistics conceal considerable differences in the experiences of child soldiers, differences that are concealed by the stereotyped view of the child soldier as a pre-adolescent African boy toting an AK-47. Unable to conscript, as conscription is a governmental prerogative, insurgent groups frequently resort to forced recruitment to alleviate manpower shortages. There is a tendency to categorise children's motives for volunteering as permissible or impermissible depending on whether the observer agrees with them or not. International concern has concentrated on the recruitment and use of child soldiers in times of war. Yet many children serve in armed forces in peacetime.
Perceptions of childhood vary across time and space. One criticism that can be made about viewing the issue through a children's rights prism, however, is that it obscures the fact that children and adults frequently face the same pressures and act for the same reasons. Appreciating that conceptions of childhood have differed across time and space helps us understand why child soldiers continue to be recruited and how child soldiers themselves might view their experiences. The idea that children have rights, and that those rights operate to oblige their parents and other adults to do or refrain from doing certain things to them, is new. Nevertheless, it is argued that it is an idea whose time has come. With regard to younger children, the argument that their development right not to be recruited trumps their autonomy right to make their own decisions seems much simpler.
Neutrality did more than merely survive the creation of the League. It even experienced something of a renaissance in the wake of the most striking failure of the League system: the unsuccessful attempt to stop the Italian conquest of Ethiopia from 1935 to 1936, by imposing economic sanctions against Italy. This humiliating failure led many to conclude that the collective-security apparatus was too weak to rely on in a crisis. There was general agreement too that neutrality was not abolished by the Pact of Paris for the Renunciation of War of 1928. One regional codification effort should be noted: the Pan-American Convention on Maritime Neutrality of 1928. The 'new neutrality' group disagreed with its community-interest rival in not being hostile to the very concept of neutrality per se. Neutral solidarity, in the spirit of the Spanish Civil War, was one of the most striking features of World War II.
This chapter describes the collective security system as envisaged in the United Nations Charter. It begins with some basic considerations on the pivotal role of Art. 39 of the Charter. Next, the chapter deals with the legal basis of the Security Council's powers and the conditions under which such powers can be exercised. These powers are then analysed following the two-fold distinction between non-military and military measures. The power to impose the adoption of economic enforcement measures necessarily presupposes the power to make these measures permitted, had they been otherwise contrary to international law. The chapter focuses on the legal effects of the Security Council's resolutions. It concludes with a discussion on the limits to the Security Council's powers and the remedies against their violations.
This chapter discusses the extent to which the collective security system established in the United Nations Charter could function in the 1990s in spite of the non-implementation of Arts. 43 et seq. of the Charter. The enlargement of the notion of threat to international peace, already noticeable in 1992, is one of the most striking features of the Security Council's recent practice. The prevailing and more convincing view admits that the Security Council may overcome the non-implementation of Art. 43 through the conclusion of ad hoc agreements with Member States. The main lesson learned from the United Nations' recent practice is that peace-keeping and peace-enforcement are mutually exclusive options. The authorisation practice constitutes the Security Council's attempt to over-come the non-implementation of Art. 43 of the Charter as an alternative to enforcement measures put at the disposal of the United Nations by Member States on an ad hoc basis.
The 'Partnership for Peace' programme of the NATO alliance embraces such traditionally neutral countries as Sweden and Switzerland. Historical perspective, however, must lead to instant suspicions of any claims of the death of neutrality. The period from approximately the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth has witnessed, overall, an advance of the position of belligerents at the expense of that of neutrals. The world may be entering a period somewhat like the early and mid-nineteenth century, in which the absence of protracted great-power warfare led to a general belief that the balance of legal power was swinging in favour of neutrals and against belligerents. That hope on the part of champions of neutral rights proved misplaced at that time. And it could very easily prove misplaced again now.