ILO L216: International Humanitarian Law
This course explores the doctrine and key tenets of international humanitarian law (variously termed the jus in bello, the law of armed conflict, and the laws of war) while also interrogating that doctrine and considering how developing practices and technologies of war challenge the existing framework. It presumes that students will develop an understanding of the jus ad bellum (the law governing the resort to force, or when we fight) from the International Legal Order (ILO L200) and Public International Law (ILO L201). The focus here will instead be on the jus in bello (the law governing how we fight). We will reflect on the independence of the jus in bello from the jus ad bellum and come to grips with the differences between international, non-international, and transnational conflicts. Several weeks will be devoted to examining the core issues in this regime: the distinction between combatants and civilians, proportionality, weapons bans, precautions in attack, and detention. We will also examine the interaction between human rights law and humanitarian law, the protection of humanitarian assistance in war, the regulation of private military contractors, the connection between IHL and war crimes, and other related issues.