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New Battlefields/Old LawsCritical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare$
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William Banks

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231152358

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231152358.001.0001

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Children as Direct Participants in Hostilities

Children as Direct Participants in Hostilities

New Challenges for International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law

(p.133) Six Children as Direct Participants in Hostilities
New Battlefields/Old Laws

Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the implications of children's direct participation in hostilities for international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Using examples such as Hezbollah's recruitment of 2,000 children aged 10–15 (known as “future suiciders”) and informal reports of children as young as 16 years old detained at Guantanamo Bay, the chapter highlights the problematic breaching of the two main protected-status positions—combatants and civilians—when children become involved in armed conflicts. It also considers how contemporary humanitarian law deals with child terrorists, along with the criminalization of acts of terrorism carried out by children. Finally, it discusses the rules available within the scope of humanitarian law that provide maximum protection to children who do not participate directly in hostilities and regulate their use as human shields.

Keywords:   children, human shields, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, combatants, civilians, armed conflicts, child terrorists, criminalization, terrorism

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