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LAW8706 International Humanitarian Law

Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : Band 4
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Pre-requisite: (LAW5111 and LAW5112) or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: LLBH or LLMC


As the world faces an intense period of conflicts, both recent International and ongoing non-international, the Four Geneva Conventions (GC) and the two Additional Protocols (AP) have been made to work hard. IHL has three golden principles of proportionality, precaution and distinction and definitions such as combatants, civilians and so on that provide an excellent base for learning to reason in a legal manner and apply relevant rules. An added distinction is IHL is an area where the written rules of the GC and AP are unchanging such that the GC are now taken to be customary law. However, the daily circumstances to which they apply are fluid, regularly presenting new challenges in their application. Students will gain vital training in legal reasoning, choosing and developing well-reasoned and researched arguments with an ability to write at a higher order level in order to promote and persuade others in their reasoned arguments. The course will give students grounding in legal thinking and the application of legal mechanisms to one of the most contentious areas of human activity, namely war. It will enable students to undertake a significant piece of research as well as providing opportunities to explore the resolution of particular legal problems in the area of international law, and in particular International Humanitarian Law. The GC place an obligation on the High Contracting parties to ensure the dissemination of knowledge of the Conventions. This course achieves this.

It is important for those acquiring the skills of lawyers to understand that the law is part of the social fabric and reflects the views and values not only of the society in which it operates but the wider international community. This course is aimed to introduce students to international obligations and their application domestically in relation to armed conflicts. Consideration of core fundamental principles such as distinction, humanity, proportionality and military necessity will be addressed. A comparative element between Australia and other jurisdictions such as the US and UK will occur.

Students outcomes will deliver the skills necessary to discuss and debate through written communication the key legal concepts that relate to legal principles surrounding both `jus ad bellum': the legal constraints on going to war, and `jus in bello': the limits imposed by law once armed conflict exists. Students will achieve practical skills in producing research and a potential outcome will be delivery of a publishable journal article and a keen understanding of the research process.

Course offers

Semester Mode Campus
Semester 3, 2022 Online
Date printed 18 May 2022