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Unit of study_

LAWS6218: International Humanitarian Law

2024 unit information

How to limit and regulate violence in times of war or armed conflict is one of the most pressing challenges for international law. This unit introduces you to the principles and practices of international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the laws of war or the law of armed conflict, including treaty law and customary international humanitarian law. This unit explores: the origins, purposes, sources and critiques of IHL; its scope of application (spatial, temporal and personal); the different types and thresholds of conflict (including international, non-international and transnational conflicts); the status and treatment of combatants and non-combatants and other categories (such as spies, unlawful combatants and terrorists); the permissible means and methods of warfare (including the principles of distinction and proportionality, and prohibitions and restrictions on certain weapons such as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons); the difference in rules governing international armed conflicts (IACs) and those governing non-international armed conflicts (NIACs); the relationship between international human rights law and IHL; and the relationship between the international terrorism suppression regime and IHL. Further information about this unit is available in the Sydney Law School timetable, unit of study outline and academic staff profile

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:


Code LAWS6218
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
LAWS3483 or LAWS5183
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a sound knowledge of the substantive law in each of the topic areas
  • LO2. demonstrate skills of advanced legal analysis and reasoning
  • LO3. demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the processes of humanitarian law making
  • LO4. demonstrate a deeper understanding of the strengths and limitations of humanitarian law
  • LO5. demonstrate awareness of the political, ideological, ethical and philosophical implications of the law;
  • LO6. demonstrate familiarity with the sources of humanitarian law and be able to research further in the area
  • LO7. demonstrate skills of legal research and writing in the area of humanitarian law (including the ability to use research methods to write in a clear and logical manner, using plain and concise language).

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2b 2024
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Outline unavailable
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Intensive October 2020
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Intensive June 2022
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Intensive May 2023
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.