Law of Armed Conflict - LAWS8610

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This course is designed to enable LL.M. and MA students to obtain comprehensive knowledge of diverse issues involved in international humanitarian law (IHL). It starts with an introduction to the basic concepts and principles of humanitarian law and their historical development, while seeking to enhance students' insight into main theoretical debates on the significance of international humanitarian law in international relations. The course then moves to focus on specific issues, such as combatant or prisoners of war (PoW) status, civilian status, protection of the vulnerable persons (such as women and children), and issues of belligerent occupation, as well as issue of more contemporary interests such as the protection of cultural property, environment, applicability of IHL to UN Peacekeeping forces and the relationship between IHL and international human rights law. Students are encouraged to develop a critical standpoint in light of historical backgrounds and of theories of international law and international relations.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 19
Private study hours: 181
Total study hours: 200


Compulsory to LLM in (specialisation) specifically in Human Rights Law; PG Diploma in (Human Rights Law); PG Certificate in (Human Rights Law). Also optional to the MA in (Specialisation in International Conflict and Security);

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The module will be assessed by 100% Coursework as follows:

Essay, maximum 5000 words (100%)

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

D. Fleck et al. (eds.), Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 3rd ed., (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2013) (paperback);
Other recommended textbooks:
D. Thürer, International Humanitarian Law: Theory, Practice, Context, Hague Academy of International Law, 2011, (Maubeuge, France, 2011).
Eric David, Principes de Droit des Conflits Armés, 5eme ed., (Brussels : Bruylant, 2012).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a critical evaluation of the key concepts, principles and doctrines of international humanitarian law (IHL);
2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of IHL in the context of evolving doctrinal and theoretical discourse;
3. Critique the principles and theories of IHL to specific cases of contemporary concern or to controversial issues;
4. Demonstrate systematic independent research in diverse areas of IHL and to construct reasoned and critical arguments based on the
concepts, principles and doctrines of IHL;
5. Demonstrate a critical evaluation of the operation of IHL in diverse situations of armed conflict (international or non-international) and

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate comprehensive legal reasoning, in order to reach a considered judgment as to the correct legal outcome where the law is
unclear or there are differences of interpretation;
2. Demonstrate sophisticated critical legal reasoning and argument;
3. Demonstrate a systematic synthetization of arguments derived from diverse sources and present a coherent explanatory framework.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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