Military Training and Children in Armed Conflict: Law, Policy, and Practice

By Jenny Kuper | Go to book overview
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7
Part I(B)—Impact of Law and Policy:
Methodology

Introduction
The previous sections of this book, Chapters Two to Six above, have largely addressed the following questions:
1. what training and/or reference information regarding children should be available to officers of national armed forces (ie the content of law and policy);
2. who is responsible for providing such training or ensuring that it is provided (ie officers/superiors to their subordinates, and governments to all military personnel); and
3. what are the key available international mechanisms for enforcing or encouraging compliance (eg war crimes trials; UN initiatives; pressure and guidance from the Committee on the Rights of the Child, etc).

Before concluding Part I of this book,1 it is, in particular, necessary to address the following questions, to be examined in this Chapter: how realistic or achievable are the legal obligations, and international policy, relating to military training concerning children? That is: how likely is it that the pertinent body of law and policy can or will (even partially) be complied with, and achieve its aim of providing greater protection for children in situations of armed conflict? And, what can be done to make effective compliance more likely?

These questions can be addressed at different levels. However, as regards the primary question, it is arguable that it is both realistic and achievable to at least provide basic instruction on law and policy regarding children to all officers (and soldiers) of national armed forces.2 Such training could be, as mentioned eg in Chapters Two and Three above, simply the bare minimum: to the effect that all IHL and human rights provisions regarding combatants and civilians generally also include and apply to children.3 This simple rule should, where possible, be refined to state that: a) it is good practice to observe the relevant provisions with particular diligence as regards children, due to their international law entitlement to special treatment, and b) there are more detailed rules specifically concerning

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