Chapter

Just War? Just Children?

Helen Brocklehurst

in Just War Theory

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748620746
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672042 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620746.003.0006
Just War? Just Children?

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Jus in bello's category of “discrimination” critically depends upon an ability to draw morally meaningful distinctions between those who are rightly liable to die in war (which includes the just as well as unjust combatants) and the “innocent” : those whose deaths should be minimised as far as possible. It is a staple of debate about the theory that this distinction is difficult to draw, but this chapter argues that the extent of this difficulty continues in fact to be underestimated by neglecting the peculiarities and problems of “the child” as a moral and political subject in war. Through numerous examples and suggestive analyses, not least some which problematise the very concept of “childhood”, the chapter proposes that some fundamental categories of just war theory may be significantly disrupted once we think clearly about the role and status of children (for example, child soldiers) in contemporary warfare.

Keywords: Discrimination; Just combatants; Childhood; Innocence; Child Soldiers

Chapter.  7348 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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