UW: International law in humanitarian action

  • Course description

    The overall objective of the module is to introduce the students to key legal instruments, principles and underlying concepts of International Law relating to humanitarian action and to enable them to apply this knowledge to practical cases.
  • Main themes

    • General outline of Public International Law
    • Sources of International Law
    • Subjects of International Law
    • Responsibility and enforcement of International Law
    • The use of force in International Law
    • The System of the United Nations
    • Law of the European Union and other regional organisations
    • International Human Rights Law
    • International Framework for Refugee Protection
    • International Humanitarian Law
    • International Criminal Law
    • International Law on Humanitarian Assistance and International Disaster Response Law
  • Learning outcomes

    In conformity with the learning outcomes set out by the NOHA network, students should achieve the following learning outcomes by the end of this module:
    • A good understanding of the basic concepts of International Law.
    • The ability to identify different aspects of International Law and their implications for humanitarian action.
    • The ability to apply key legal instruments in practice.
    • Principal skills in applying mechanisms of dispute settlement.
    • The ability to present legal argumentation in the field of HA.
    • A clear understanding of the limits in applicability of International Law.
    • The capacity to introduce personal responsibility.
  • Teaching and learning methodology

    The module will employ a combination of lectures and classroom-based group work to achieve the learning outcomes mentioned above.
  • Assessment methods and criteria

    50% - Essay submitted before 31 December 2016
    50% - Written exam – the exam will consist of a number of open questions based on the various topics discussed during the course.
    The exam will try to assess the passive knowledge of the contents of the course, and also the applicability of this knowledge in a practical situation. More specifically, the criteria of assessment entail the degree of knowledge of international law in general (including the concepts of sources of international law, subjects of international law, state responsibility and jurisdiction, the use of force under international law, human rights law, the rules about non-intervention under international law and those pertaining to international humanitarian law), as it is relevant to humanitarian action. 

Last updated: 7 November 2016

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