Learning outcomes - JUS5730

International Humanitarian Law

Course content

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) defines methods and means of warfare in armed conflicts and establishes various forms of protection for civilians, other non-combatants as well as combatants. The rules seek to balance military necessity against fundamental principles of humanity. 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.

The subject International Humanitarian Law is a part of public international law, but does not go in detail into the rules on the legality of warfare (jus ad bellum). The main focus is on which rules apply when there is an armed conflict going on (jus in bello), irrespective of the status of the conflict. International Humanitarian Law has certain contact points with two other subjects under public international law; international criminal law and international human rights law.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge

Students are expected to gain good knowledge (JUS5730) or general knowledge (JUR1730) of the followings issues:

  • The principle on proportionality and military necessity, the principle of distinction between military objectives and civilian objects, as well as the prohibition against means of warfare that may lead to unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury
  • The scope of application of International Humanitarian Law in different levels of conflict
  • The relationship between International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, particularly regarding derogation from human rights in armed conflict
  • The relationship between International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law, including jurisdiction regarding genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • The limitations on means and methods of armed conflicts
  • Combatant status and its implications
  • Protection of prisoners of war (POW)
  • Protection of civilians and non-combatants
  • The rules of International Humanitarian Law in relation to acts of terror, and the “war on terror”
  • Protection of cultural property
  • International peace operations
  • The method and sources of international public law in general, and the sources of IHL in particular
  • The rules on the legality on the use of force between states (jus ad bellum)
  • The historic development of International Humanitarian Law
  • National implementation of International Humanitarian Law

Skills

  • Students learn how to read and analyse international case law and to analyse the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, as well as Hague Regulations, in relation to fact patterns
  • The teaching and the examination focus on independent reflection and on application of the academic theories to factual realities and practical problems

General competence

  • Students acquire skills which are relevant for future careers in ministries, NGOs, international organisations and other similar institutions
  • Students develop an understanding of the role law plays in extreme emergency situations
  • Students develop an understanding of the causes and consequences of armed conflicts
  • Students learn how to balance law and ethics in difficult factual circumstances

Reading lists in Leganto

Published June 8, 2020 6:41 AM - Last modified June 8, 2020 6:41 AM