Legal Aspects of War: Humanitarian Law

Class Information Spring 2021

  • 2 units
  • Class No.: 26322
  • Meets: Wednesdays
  • Time: 5:40 pm - 7:20 pm
  • Location: online
  • Exam: May 4 - 18, 2021
  • 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 cover a variety of topics related to the law of war. The class will include: 1. The law of going to war (jus ad bellum), including contemporary issues of military action in response to 9/11, ISIS, and the so-called “war on terror”; 2. The law during war (jus in bello), with traditional topics such as the Geneva Conventions and emerging aspects like targeted killings, drone warfare, and cyber warfare; and 3. International Justice/Tribunals, options under international criminal law, and the role of judge advocates for military courts. Grading will be based upon class participation, short multiple choice comprehension quizzes, and a final exam.