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International Law of Armed Conflict (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Ali Raiss-Tousi
  • Assessment: an essay portfolio of 4000 words (100%)

Module description

The Law of Armed Conflict (also known as International Humanitarian Law) governs the way in which states conduct warfare. It comprises a set of rules that seek to protect persons (and objects) that are affected by war; and also to limit the rights of conflicting parties to use the methods of warfare of their choice.

This module will introduce you to the legal rules surrounding armed conflict through the relevant international treaties. It will demonstrate the practical problems of applying and enforcing humanitarian law by evaluating recent armed conflicts.

The emphasis throughout this module is practical. Examples are taken from real conflict situations and since the law reflects political and military necessities as well as humanitarian concerns, we will examine how respect for the rules could be improved.

This module helps to fill the existing gap for LLB students interested in choosing their options with a focus on international law issues. It also offers students on the BA Language and International Law programme a further international law option in Year 3/4 of their study.

Indicative Module Content

  • Historical development of the law of armed conflict
  • The contemporary legal basis and fundamental principles of the law of armed conflict
  • Types of armed conflict
  • Individual status in armed conflict - combatants, non-combatants and Prisoners of War
  • Protection of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked
  • The law of belligerent occupation and protection of civilians
  • Targeting
  • Means and methods of warfare
  • Implementation, enforcement and accountability

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to engage in a critical appraisal of the current state of the law of armed conflict.