Legal Aspects of War: Humanitarian Law

Class Information Spring 2023

  • 2 units
  • Class No.: 58218
  • Meets: Monday
  • Time: 8:40 am - 10:20 am
  • Location: 206
  • Exam:
  • Course Description

Taylor Dalton

Assistant Professor of Law

Legal Aspects of War: Humanitarian Law

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

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:

In this course, students will learn the history and development of the laws of war; the law of going to war (jus ad bellum); the law governing conduct during war (jus in bello); the role of tribunals and international courts in and after conflict; and the application of the laws of war to emerging topics, including drone and cyber warfare.  Students will also explore empirical research regarding conflict and the application of the laws of war.  Throughout the course, students will apply these concepts to ongoing conflicts, including the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Assessment based on student participation, short written responses, and final paper.