Despite the enormous shifts that have taken place in the conduct of warfare over the past centuries, theories of just war have had a remarkably continuous currency: largely the same nomenclature and considerations run through the tradition’s history. Indeed, few concepts have had such enduring resonance as the very idea of a just war, shaping even the otherwise guileless rhetoric of contemporary US presidents, for example. This volume, a critical reappraisal of just war tenets, itself illustrates and explores that appeal in the context of a new and particularly challenging security environment. However, in terms of just war theorising’s application to children, this is but a first meeting: just war theory appraised — and it is not an easy introduction. Childhood is an ambiguous life-stage, war and security are contested concepts; contested, too, is the relationship between humanitarian and international human rights law and the status of child victims and child perpetrators. Neither is this an introduction that can or should be made comfortably. For many children who have been present or engaged in war, it is made posthumously. For all children it is necessarily made on their behalf, an issue of participation which will be addressed later.
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