LWMTAC-Law of Armed Conflict (International Humanitarian Law)

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: LWMARC International Law and the Regulation of Armed Conflict
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne

Email: l.hill-cawthorne@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
«p»The law of armed conflict (LOAC) (also known as ‘international humanitarian law’) concerns a major substantive area of public international law (the ius in bello). It examines issues including the legal protections for injured or captured combatants and civilians, the rules as to how warfare is to be conducted, such as the prohibition of or restrictions on the use of certain weapons and rules on targeting, and the law of occupation. It also offers introductions into cutting-edge areas including displacement and complex emergencies in armed conflict. The module offers a unique insight into some of the most controversial and fundamental aspects of the modern international legal order and their manifestations in practice (such as the law applicable to so-called ‘modern’ conflicts between States and transnational non-State armed groups or the occupation of the Palestinian Territories). The module essentially asks how – in what manner – war must be fought in the modern world. This question is assessed through both abstract examination of the law and through detailed real world case studies. This module is designed to complement the LWMTUF International Law and the Use of Military Force module, which considers the rules of international law applicable to initial uses of military force in the international sphere, prior to an armed conflict emerging (the ius ad bellum). However, the modules can also be taken wholly independently.«/p»

The module examines LOAC not only through abstract assessment of the legal rules themselves, but also through detailed assessment of real world examples that highlight the law (and its shortcomings) in practice. As such, students will engage with major case studies of armed conflict, including occupation, from the contemporary era. The aim is for students to gain a detailed substantive understanding of the ius in bello, including an appreciation both of its value and limitations in practice. As part of this, the module seeks to contextualise LOAC within the broader field of public international law, demonstrating how developments in the latter have impacted LOAC (and vice versa). In addition, the module aims to provide some theoretical underpinning to this substantive knowledge and to question, amongst other things, the moral implications of the balance that is struck in international humanitarian law between the imperative to protect against the consequences of warfare and the need to allow for effective military action during inevitable times of armed conflict.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to: • Draw upon a body of detailed substantive knowledge of international law gained through both class participation and self-study, and apply this to an essay question or problem question involving a fictional or actual armed conflict. • Debate the relative legal merits of controversial claims made in the context of LOAC. • Demonstrate an ability to set the substantive law content of the module in a wider context, both legal and non-legal.

Additional outcomes:
Given the fact that the module is orientated towards small group teaching and independent study, it will encourage autonomy with regard to critical analysis of the legal topics examined, as well as high-level oral communication skills. The module will also require students to prepare a succinct case study on an armed conflict or instance of occupation, draw legal conclusions with regard to this example (both in terms of its lawfulness and any long term normative impact) and present this orally.

These outcomes are in addition to those listed in the School's ‘core skills statement’.

Outline content:

Each seminar will cover a different topic, such as: The Development and Nature of International Humanitarian Law; The Law of Occupation; Detention in International Armed Conflict; Identifying Combatants; Targeting and Attack Precautions; Weapons and Methods of Warfare; The Relationship between IHL and International Human Rights Law; The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict; Displacement from Conflict; Humanitarian Assistance and Complex Emergencies

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching in this module is designed to provide students with a range of resources on which they can draw in their learning. The main elements are:

• A list of required and recommended readings, with notes and questions that will be used to guide class discussion and reflection.
• Ten weekly seminar classes of 2 hours each.
• Students will prepare a 10 - 15 minute ‘case-study’ presentation relevant to the topic that week and present this in class. Written formative feedback will be provided following this presentation.

Where there are Faculty seminars relevant to the area then students in the module will be encouraged to attend and given the opportunity to discuss the issues with visiting academic presenters.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
An assessed essay of 15 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules).

Formative assessment methods:
• One compulsory non-assessed presentation of 10-15 minutes (during a seminar), on which the students will receive written feedback.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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