Child soldiers in international law

By Matthew Happold

Child soldiers in international law

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6586-6
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: August 2005
  • BIC Category: Law / International law, Armed Conflict, LAW / International, LAW / Military, International law, Law, Law
  • Series: Melland Schill Studies in International Law


Can the use of children as soldiers be effectively regulated at an international level? 'Child soldiers in international law' examines how international law has developed to deal with this problematic and emotive issue.

Happold looks at the rules restricting the recruitment of children into armed forces - rules which, though important, are often flouted - but also at the wider legal issues arising from child soldiering: to what extent can child soldiers be held criminally liable for their conduct? How should they be treated when captured? How are states obliged to demobilise and reintegrate them into their societies? It also identifies a move away towards enforcement, through the prosecution of those who recruit child soldiers, and proposals for Security Council sanctions against governments and groups who breach their international obligations by using children in armed conflicts.

This study will be essential reading for those concerned with public international law, human rights, and the United Nations and peacekeeping.


Child soldiers ininternational law: Introduction
Part I
1. Child soldiers in the world today
2. Children and children's rights: Changing perceptions
Part II
3. The United Nations and child soldiers
Part III
4. The legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities: International humanitarian law
5. The legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities: International human rights law
6. The legal regulation of the recruitment and use of children in hostilities: Customary internationallaw and non-state actors
Part IV
7. The legal treatment of child soldiers
Part V
8. The recruitment of child soldiers as a war crime
9. The responsibility of child soldiers for war crimes
Part VI
10. Child soldiers as asylum seekers and refugees
Part VII
11. Child soldiers in international law: Conclusion


Matthew Happold is Lecturer in Law at the University of Nottingham

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