International Law concerning Child Civilians in Armed Conflict

By Jenny Kuper | Go to book overview

6 Monitoring, Implementation, and Enforcement of International Law Concerning Child Civilians

Chapters 2 to 5 above presented an overview of international human rights and humanitarian law relating to the treatment of child civilians in situations of armed conflict. Before examining the Iraqi conflicts for evidence of the impact of this body of law, this Chapter will look briefly at various organisations and legal mechanisms which have a role to play in its monitoring and/or implementation and/or enforcement.1 These include the Committee on the Rights of the Child; certain principal organs of the UN and other bodies operating under its ægis; mechanisms for enforcing the laws of armed conflict; the ICRC; and relevant NGOs.

The focus here is on global international organisations and mechanisms, and regional mechanisms will therefore not be discussed.2 Similarly, the role played by individual states is not described, although clearly they can be important in supervising and enforcing compliance with the pertinent international law, for example through diplomatic or legal action, and even, on occasion, military measures.3

In this Chapter, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is described and commented on more fully than the other mechanisms. This is because it is quite recently established, and is the only international monitoring body with the specific mandate, accepted by almost the entire international community as parties to the 1989 CRC, of regularly supervising state compliance with international humanitarian law concerning child civilians.

____________________
1
For further information on pertinent implementation mechanisms in international law, see, among others, Meron ( 1989), 136-247; Hannikainen ( 1988), 301-11; Goodwin-Gill and Cohn ( 1994), 150-8; The American Law Institute ( 1987), para. 703; van Boven ( 1991), 3- 10; B. G. Ramcharan, "Strategies for the International Protection of Human Rights in the 1990s" 13 Human Rights Quarterly156-7 ( 1991); and K. Vasak, "The Distinguishing Criteria of Institutions", in Vasak (ed.) ( 1982), 215-28. Specifically as regards the right to life, see D. Weissbrodt , "Protecting the Right to Life: International Measures Against Arbitrary or Summary Killings by Governments", in Ramcharan (ed.) ( 1985), 297-307.
2
Nonetheless, some of the regional procedures are well established and in certain cases may be more effective than those available through the UN or other international mechanisms. Relevant procedures, within, e.g., the OAS and the Council of Europe include inter-state and individual complaint mechanisms regarding human rights violations.
3
On the role of individual states see, e.g., Gasser, in Fox and Meyer (eds.) ( 1993), 15- 44.

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