Legal Aspects of War: Humanitarian Law

Class Information Spring 2020

  • 1 units
  • Class No.: 10233
  • Meets: See notes
  • Time: See notes -
  • Location: 206
  • Exam:
  • Course Description

Legal Aspects of War: Humanitarian Law

Certificate(s): International Law Public Interest and Social Justice Law (List C)

Course Description:

Examines the legalities of the decision to go to war under international and U.S. law, the International Law of War, and human rights law. Coverage includes the War Powers Resolution and litigation regarding U.S. use of force in Vietnam, Central America, and the Persian Gulf; Nuremberg and other post-World War II legal prosecutions and postwar Geneva Conventions and Protocols; the legal responses to such issues as the capture of Adolf Eichmann and the My Lai massacre, the bombing of North Vietnam (1964- 72) and Iraq (1991), and the genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia; and the foundational texts of human rights law, particularly those relating to war and its consequences.

Class Notes:

This course will introduce students to the field of international humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict.  As various conflicts rage throughout the world, you may wonder whether a specific air strike is legal, or how international law would view the legality of detention in Guantanamo Bay, or what protections are available to civilians in Syria.  This course will provide an overview of issues such as  who may be targeted or detained, how states and non-state armed groups must protect people, and will look at how emerging technologies apply during armed conflict.  The course will look at the intersections of international humanitarian law and human rights laws, international criminal law, and international refugee law. 

One unit course taught over one weekend, February 8 and 9, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.