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Module SXL-4045:
Int'nl Law of Armed Conflict

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Tara Smith

Overall aims and purpose

International Law of Armed Conflict is a module that aims to advance critical understanding of the principles of international law applicable to armed conflicts, The focus of the module will be on the highly developed body of rules regulating the conduct of hostilities and the law governing the protection of the human person in armed conflict.

Course content

Students taking SXL-4045 International Law of Armed Conflict will begin their studies with an overview of the distinction between the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello. Whereas the former regulates the resort to force, including the prohibition of use of force and the exceptions to this prohibition, the jus in bello is a distinct part of international law and will form the core part of the course. The jus in bello governs the conduct of hostilities and the protection of human life and dignity in times of armed conflict. We will begin with an introduction to the fundamental principles, such as humanity in war, which underpin legal regulation of conduct in armed conflict. Students will examine the scope and application of the laws of armed conflict, including key notions such as armed conflict itself, and critical distinctions such as international/non-international armed conflict, or civilians/combatants. By familiarising themselves with concepts such as targeting, immunity from attack, loss of immunity from attack and proportionality, students will study about the protection of combatants, civilians, cultural property and the environment as well as means and methods of combat in both international and non-international armed conflicts. There will also be coverage of the implementation and enforcement of the laws of armed conflict, including criminal repression of breaches and State responsibility. The final part of the course will examine current challenges, such as displaced persons and collective security operations, and the impact of international human rights law on these rules applicable in armed conflict, including differences and points of convergence.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Displays ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing appropriate skills to conduct research. Work at threshold quality demonstrates an adequate knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, some of which is informed by thinking at the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a developing understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced by the work indicates that the student can evaluate scholarship in the field.

good

Displays accomplished ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing good quality skills to conduct research. Good work in this module will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at, or informed by thinking at, the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

excellent

Displays mastery of a complex and specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research. Excellent work in this module will contain the qualities recognized in good work, but will show them in a more consistent way, and at all points. It will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at the forefront of this academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research or to advanced scholarship. It shows throughout an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can critically evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline, and do so in a consistent manner. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the history of the movement towards humanisation of armed conflict, and the reasons for the complex legal framework that exists in International Law.

  2. Understand the relationship between the Jus ad Bellum and the Jus in Bello, and the different distinctions within these laws of war.

  3. Demonstrate an advanced conceptual understanding of the International Law of Armed Conflict, what it is, whom or what it affects, the system within which it operates, and how that relates to the domestic legal system.

  4. Master the foundational concepts, principles and fundamental rules of the Internatioanl Law of Armed Conflict and be able to put these into the context of contemporary international challenges.

  5. Develop and employ enhanced research skills by using traditional library sources involving books, journals and case reports, modern electronic facilities such as online databases and internet resources and multimedia.

  6. Critically examine, compare and evaluate the different theories and views of leading authorities, and develop their own perspectives about academic controversies.

  7. Engage directly with primary legal materials as well as advanced scholarly works, and be able to assess critically leading decisions of international courts and tribunals, and the contribution that these decisions have made.

  8. Identify the rules of the International Law of Armed Conflict, critically evaluate and analyse them, and apply them appropriately to solve problems of an international nature (legal reasoning).

  9. Critically assess areas of legal controversy and competing interpretations of the law.

  10. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the challenges that this area of the law has faced and will continue to face.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Case Study Analysis of a Contemporary Armed Conflict 25
Essay 75

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students are expected to commit 178 hours of private study to this module. Essential preparatory readings will be notified to students in advance or provided in advance of class. For each session, students will be expected to have prepared essential reading together with any special assignments given for that particular class. Most of the readings that are set will come from the core text, with some additional readings. The instructor will consolidate that initial foundational understanding with lecturing and explanation of complex issues of theory, law and practice and contextualise the teaching in discussions using real life examples. Audiovisual materials may be used to enhance the learning experience.

178
Seminar

The module will consist of 11 two-hour seminars. Students will be expected to be able to engage in dialogue about substantive issues for each class, and be actively engaged in activities such as individual presentations or small group exercises that will enhance their understanding.

22

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced level legal theories and legal findings, related to topics like the functioning of legal institutions, criminal offenses, criminal procedure, legal culture, and the social function of law.
  • Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of basic principles, advanced level theories and explore the many traditional and contemporary challenges in International Law. They will receive a balanced education in the relevant law, theory, politics and practice.
  • Students will also acquire expertise within the international law of the sea. Careful guidance over optional module choices and close supervision of dissertations will ensure that the students fully develop expertise in the area of interest.
  • Students will also acquire expertise within the particular programme on which they are enrolled. Careful guidance over optional module choices and close supervision of dissertations will ensure that the students fully develop expertise in the area of interest.
  • Students will be taught through a range of methods, balancing theory and practice, and aiming at developing critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary International Lawyers.
  • Students will develop to become critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary international lawyers.

Resources

Courses including this module