In a 1990 UNICEF lecture, the speaker commented that '[i]n the past it was soldiers who died in war... The present reality is that modern man wages war against children.'1 Despite the plethora of laws designed to protect children in armed conflict, the description in Chapter 7 of the three Iraqi conflicts indicates that this speaker's comment was largely accurate.
Obviously, international law alone cannot provide a solution. It reflects and is limited by social and political values and realities. Moreover, as discussed in section 3.1.2, the law concerning child civilians in armed conflict contains significant lacunae (as in relation to children in internal disturbances), and this body of law is also uncomfortably vague in places.2 Nonetheless, it is substantial, and one can be forgiven for asking why, with so much law, it seems generally so ineffective.
A central problem here, as with many other areas of international law and particularly humanitarian law, is that of implementation and enforcement,3 despite the many organisations and procedures that play a role in this context (see Chapter 6).4
Further, insufficient attention has been paid to safeguarding child civilians, even though most governments express support in principle for the____________________