Kononenko, Iuliia

  • Dissertation Title: Child Soldiers and Military Actors: A Variation in Detention Policies Across Liberal Democracies
  • Description: My research explores the relationship between human rights and security. I specifically focus on a comparative analysis of policy choices of liberal democracies, in their efforts to balance the security of their militaries and the protection of vulnerable populations. These questions have become increasingly urgent as these countries found themselves involved in ungoverned spaces offered by fragile and failing states in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The phenomenon of child soldiering is an example of an issue that demands actors, who are responsible for the development of a policy, to account for both the inherent vulnerability of children and the security threat they pose as combatants. In my dissertation, conducted under the supervision of Professor Simon Reich, I analyze the factors that influence the variation in national policies on the detention of child soldiers during armed conflict across three major liberal democracies: Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. My dissertation ultimately finds that NGOs influence the adoption of a national policy on the detention of child soldiers in three ways. First, the active participation of NGOs during the agenda-setting process fosters the advancement of a child detention policy onto the decision-makers’ agenda. Second, the ability of NGOs to develop collaborative relationships with institutional actors, such as government officials and military lawyers, during the policy formulation stage is determinative for their ability to influence policy outcomes. Third, the application of the mechanism of naming and shaming during the policy implementation stage remains effective only if NGOs apply it in combination with other strategies, such as the use of litigation in domestic courts and cooperation with key actors on the ground. The findings of my dissertation are potentially significant because they may contribute to three research programs. First, my study, through the comparative analysis of strategies that NGOs’ use to induce a policy change, contributes to the research program on the role and influence of NGOs in the policy process. Second, as the detention of child soldiers takes place in a complex legal environment, the dissertation’s analysis is relevant to the research program on the effects of legal advising during military operations. Third, my dissertation also contributes to the broad research program on children’s involvement in armed conflict as it explores child soldiers’ dual status, of victims and perpetrators, that generates operational, legal, and ethical dilemmas for the actors involved in the development and implementation of national security policies.
  • Committee: Professor Simon Reich (Chair), Professor  Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia (SPAA),  Professor  Gregg Van Ryzin (SPAA), and Professor  David Rosen (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Email Address: ik175@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
  • Personal Website: LinkedIn

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