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Unit of study_

LAWS6218: International Humanitarian Law

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.

Code LAWS6218
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
LAWS3483 or LAWS5183

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).