War Law: Use of Force & Humanitarian Law (LAWS5183)

UNIT OF STUDY

A vital function of public international is its struggle against violence, both in preventing it from occurring and mitigating its effects once it gets under way. This unit explores two key areas of international law devoted to regulating intense violence involving governments or non- State actors: (1) International Law on the Use of Armed Force, and (2) International Humanitarian Law (also known as the Law of Armed Conflict or the Laws of War). The first part of the course considers the prohibition on the use of force under customary law and the United Nations Charter; exceptions to that prohibition in cases of self-defence by States or collective security action by the UN Security Council; controversies over pre-emptive self-defence, humanitarian intervention and the "Responsibility to Protect"; peacekeeping and peace enforcement; the role of regional and international actors; and the use of force by and against non-State actors. The second part of the course considers the origins, purposes and sources of international humanitarian law; its scope of application; the different types and thresholds of conflict; the permissible means and methods of warfare (including restrictions on weapons); the status and treatment of combatants and non-combatants and others (such as spies, mercenaries, "unlawful combatants", "terrorists", journalists, and "private security contractors"); the protection of cultural property and the environment; the relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law; and the implementation, supervision and enforcement of humanitarian law (including the prosecution of war crimes and the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross).

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information

Classes

2x2hr seminars/wk

Assessment

3000wd assignment (30%) and 2hr exam (70%)

Faculty/department permission required?

No

Unit of study rules

Prohibitions

LAWS3440, LAWS6218, LAWS6062, LAWS3483, LAWS3086

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.