Catholic University Law Review


The aim of this article is to first investigate and understand the widespread and systematic practice of enforced disappearances against children around the world, with a key purpose being to show that it is a regular occurrence. The article reviews the systematic disappearances of children in their historical context, beginning from the Second World War. A variety of country examples –some historical and some contemporary –are discussed to indicate the widespread nature of the practice. The variety of cases is used to understand why states participate in such practices and why children specifically are targeted as victims of enforced disappearances. However, it has not been possible to consider all situations where such disappearances have occurred because thereare so many. The article then examines the international legal framework to deal with the scourge of enforced disappearances of children. The laws and processes in international human rights law (IHRL), international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law (ICL) are considered in turn. Thus, the article assesses what the problems with the law are and what can be done to make the law and processes able to prevent and deal with disappearances. It also provides a range of recommendations and solutions for how to improve the situation of the systematic disappearance of children.