Related Rule
United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Articles 23, 24, 38, 50 and 89 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, §§ 44, 262, 263, 277, 296 and 389.
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Children under 15 … enjoy the same preferential treatment provided for the nationals of the state concerned.” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 14-5; see also § 14-3.
The US Naval Handbook (1995) provides: “Children are entitled to special respect and protection.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 11.3.
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed: “We support … the principle that … children be the object of special respect and protection.” 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, The Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American University Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, p. 428.
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.
On 8 May 2006, the US Delegation to the Committee against Torture responded orally to questions regarding US obligations under the 1985 Convention against Torture. On a question concerning juveniles detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, the US Department of Defense Legal Adviser responded:
With respect to Madame Belmir’s question about juveniles detained at Guantanamo and the reason for their detention, there are currently no juvenile detainees at Guantanamo … Let me briefly speak about the conditions of detention we provided them while at Guantanamo. After medical tests determined their ages, they were housed in a separate detention facility, separated at a significant distance from the other detainees, and the other detainees were not permitted to have access to them. Indeed, they were housed in a communal facility, rather than cells. They underwent assessments from medical, behavioral, and educational experts to address their needs. Furthermore, we taught them mathematics, English, and reading, and provided daily physical exercise and sports programs.
It is unfortunate that al Qaeda and the Taliban use juveniles as combatants. The United States detains enemy combatants engaged in armed conflict against it and the juveniles were detained to prevent further harm to them and to our forces. 
United States, Department of State, Oral Statements by the United States Delegation to the Committee Against Torture, Geneva, Switzerland, 8 May 2006.
In May 2008, in a joint press briefing given in Geneva by the US Ambassador-at-Large and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Detainee Affairs, Department of Defense, the defense representative stated:
The U.S. does detain juveniles that are encountered on the battlefield. That both removes them from the dangerous effect of combat and at the same time it protects our forces and other innocent civilians. We go to great lengths when we do detain juveniles to recognize the special needs of a juvenile population and to provide them with a safe environment away from hostilities.
It is unfortunate, as I indicated, that children are and continue to be recruited into armed conflict. In Iraq in particular we have had to detain individuals who are juveniles who were involved in planting Improvised Explosive Devices, those are roadside bombs, that have also been actively engaged in fighting. I think many of you have read in the news over the past several weeks that there have been at least two suicide bombings involving children over the past week that did result in the death of more than 20 people in Iraq. Separately, there’s also reporting now related to juveniles being recruited in Pakistan between the ages of nine and twelve to make bombs and to become suicide bombers. It is unfortunate.
Now when we do encounter children who have been recruited into the armed forces to take up hostilities in a dangerous environment, we do believe that it is important to remove them from that battlefield environment. We do believe that in the short term that [we] can provide for them a more safe and secure environment for them to temporarily be housed. But we recognize that the primary purpose is to remove them from the battlefield. It protects the lives of innocent civilians who are being killed. It also protects the lives of our forces. And in some instances it may protect their own lives. 
United States, Statement by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Detainee Affairs, Department of Defense, at a press briefing with the Ambassador-at-Large and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Geneva, 21 May 2008.
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Articles 24 and 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, §§ 263 and 383.
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.
On 8 May 2006, the US delegation to the Committee against Torture, responded orally to questions regarding US obligations under the 1985 Convention against Torture. On a question concerning juveniles detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, the US Department of Defense Legal Adviser responded:
With respect to Madame Belmir’s question about juveniles detained at Guantanamo and the reason for their detention, there are currently no juvenile detainees at Guantanamo . . . Let me briefly speak about the conditions of detention we provided them while at Guantanamo. After medical tests determined their ages, they were housed in a separate detention facility, separated at a significant distance from the other detainees, and the other detainees were not permitted to have access to them. Indeed, they were housed in a communal facility, rather than cells. They underwent assessments from medical, behavioral, and educational experts to address their needs. Furthermore, we taught them mathematics, English, and reading, and provided daily physical exercise and sports programs.
It is unfortunate that al Qaeda and the Taliban use juveniles as combatants. The United States detains enemy combatants engaged in armed conflict against it and the juveniles were detained to prevent further harm to them and to our forces. 
United States, Department of State, Oral Statements by the United States Delegation to the Committee Against Torture, Geneva, Switzerland, 8 May 2006.
In May 2008, in a joint press briefing given in Geneva by the US Ambassador-at-Large and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Detainee Affairs, Department of Defense, the defense representative stated:
In Iraq, for example, we have developed an extensively robust program of a Juvenile Education Center working with the Iraqi government. It’s a separate school, exclusively for those juveniles who have taken part in hostilities and who have been recruited into armed conflict, which is something we very much oppose. And this school in particular has athletic fields; it has a special Iraqi curriculum developed with the Iraqi government for them. We take all measures to encourage as robust a communication with their families as is possible. And our policy is to the maximum extent practicable to not detain a juvenile more than a year. 
United States, Statement by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Detainee Affairs, Department of Defense, at a press briefing with the Ambassador-at-Large and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Geneva, 21 May 2008.
The US Field Manual (1956) provides:
The commanders of United States ground forces will, when the situation permits, inform the enemy of their intention to bombard a place, so that the noncombatants, especially … children, may be removed before the bombardment commences. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 43.
The manual further states: “The Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to conclude local agreements for the removal from besieged or encircled areas, of … children”. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 256; see also § 44.
The manual also provides:
The parties to the conflict shall facilitate the reception of such children [under fifteen, who are orphaned or are separated from their families as a result of the war] in a neutral country for the duration of the conflict with the consent of the Protecting Power, if any, and under due safeguards. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 263.
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Removal of … children … from besieged or encircled areas is encouraged.” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 14-3.
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed:
We support the principle that no state arrange for the evacuation of children except for temporary evacuation where compelling reasons of the health or medical treatment of the children or safety, except in occupied territory, so require. 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, The Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American University Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, p. 428.
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Article 68 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 438.
According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.
The US Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (2004), in Title VII—Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations; Subtitle A—Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, and the Military in the War on Terrorism, states:
Sec. 7104. Assistance for Afghanistan.
(h) UNITED STATES POLICY TO SUPPORT DISARMAMENT OF PRIVATE MILITIAS AND EXPANSION OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING AND SECURITY OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN.—
(1) UNITED STATES POLICY RELATING TO DISARMAMENT OF PRIVATE MILITIAS.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—It shall be the policy of the United States to take immediate steps to provide active support for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of armed soldiers, particularly child soldiers, in Afghanistan, in close consultation with the President of Afghanistan. 
United States, Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, 2004, Public Law 108-458, 17 December 2004, Title V, Subtitle E, § 7104(h)(1)(A).
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the United States stated:
The United States has contributed substantial resources to international programs aimed at preventing the recruitment of children and reintegrating child ex-combatants into society and is committed to continue to develop rehabilitation approaches that are effective in addressing this serious and difficult problem. The United States applies a definition of child ex-combatants in keeping with the Cape Town Principles of 1997, which cover any child associated with fighting forces in any capacity, whether or not he or she ever bore arms. In this regard, United States programming adopts a broad approach by seeking to include all children affected by armed conflict rather than singling out for separate services former child combatants. It also espouses the principle that family reunification and community reintegration are both goals and processes of recovery for former child combatants. United States programming aimed at assisting children affected by war addresses the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and integration into civilian society of former child combatants; the prevention of recruitment of children; and the recovery and rehabilitation of children affected by armed conflict, including activities to identify separated children, protect them from harm, provide appropriate interim care, carry out tracing for family reunification, arrange alternate care for children who cannot be reunited, reform their legal protections and facilitate community reintegration. The Protocol serves as a means for encouraging such programs and constitutes an important tool for increasing assistance to children who are affected by armed conflict. 
United States, Initial Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/USA/1 (2007), 22 June 2007, submitted on 8 May 2007, § 34.