International Humanitarian Law (LAWS6218)


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.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Mar 17, 18 & 31, Apr 1 (9-5)


class participation (20%) and 8000wd essay (80%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS3483 or LAWS5183

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.