JUS5730 – International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict)

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Course content

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) establishes protection for civilians, other non-combatants as well as combatants, and limits methods and means of warfare in armed conflict. The rules seek to balance fundamental principles of humanity against military necessity. The principle of proportionality, the principle of distinction between military objectives and civilian objects, as well as the prohibition against means of combat that lead to unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury, form the basis for this body of law.

The legal bases for IHL are rules of international customary law as well as treaty law, in particular the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 with their additional protocols of 1977, and the Hague Regulations of 1907. In addition there are several specific treaties pertaining to e.g. use of certain weapons and other means of warfare.

International Humanitarian Law is a part of the wider topic Public International Law. It touches upon the rules on the legality of warfare (jus ad bellum), but the main focus is on the rules that apply when an armed conflict is going on (jus in bello), irrespective of the nature of the conflict. International Humanitarian Law has certain contact points with inter alia two other topics under Public International Law; International Criminal Law and International Human Rights law.

For students enrolled in Rettsvitenskap (jus) (master - 5 år): Have you considered a specialization as part of your degree? The course is part of the profile Internasjonal rett.

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You may register for this course if you have admission to a Master’s programme at UiO or the faculty's exchange programme. You can also register for this course if you do not have admission to any programme at UiO, but meet the formal prerequistites.

All students are required meet the formal prerequistites.

Have you met the formal prerequisites at another institution than the University of Oslo, and the results are not formally registered at UiO, you must apply for admission to courses at Master’s level . Students with admission to Master’s degree programmes at other faculties than The Faculty of Law must also apply for admission.

When your admission is in order you must register for courses in StudentWeb


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must fill one of these requirements:

  • Passed 1st - 3rd year of the 5-years degree Master of Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) (or exams that qualify for exemption for these) or
  • Hold a 5-years Master’s degree in Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) or equivalent.

Exemptions from the formal prerequisites will be given to students with admission to the faculty's own exchange or master’s degree programmes. This rule does not apply to students with admission to other master’s degree programmes at the University of Oslo, unless otherwise agreed.

Recommended previous knowledge

Three years of law studies.



Language of teaching for this course is English. This means that all
communication during lectures/seminars will be in English, and all
literature and auxiliary materials are in English.


Home-exam, paper with a maximum of 3000 words.

Footnotes should be included in the word count of the main text. Not included in this count: front page (title etc.), summary, table of contents and references (bibliography). (If relevant for the paper).

Assignments/papers with text exceeding the word limit will not be accepted.

Use of sources and rules for citing. 

Be sure that you are familiar with the use of sources and the rules for citing/quoting from others work .

UiO uses a plagiarism checking tool as one of several instruments for detecting suspicion of cheating and attempted cheating.

Previous exam papers

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria for written examination

This  guide is used by examiners for grading elective courses at the Faculty of Law.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take this exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

There are special rules for resitting a passed examination in the master's programme in Law.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


The language for this course is English. Students enrolled in the
Masterprogrammet i rettsvitenskap must pass one
English subject as part of their degree, this course will meet these

This subject is taught at Master 's level. The subject is also taught at Bachelor's level (15 ECTS credits), see JUR1730 – International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict). Please see the chapter above, regarding overlap. For instances of overlap, credits will be deducted on the subject at Bachelors's level.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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