UCL Faculty of Laws


International Humanitarian Law (LAWS0070)

This module is an in-depth examination of the law of armed conflict (‘LOAC’ / ‘IHL’) and the interaction between IHL and international human rights law and the terrorism suppression treaty regime.

We will begin by considering the core distinctions in IHL – in particular international/non‐international armed conflicts; combatants/civilians/‘unlawful combatants’; and military objectives/civilian objects. 

We will then explore the rules which protect both participants in and innocent victims of armed conflict and the rules which regulate the conduct of hostilities, including targetability and proportionality. 

Finally, we will study two sets of regime interaction which increasingly inform the practice of IHL – in particular, that between International Human Rights Law and IHL, and that between the international Terrorism Suppression Regime and IHL.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change..

  • Introduction to the Law of Armed Conflict: General Concepts and History
  • Classification of Armed Conflicts and Commencement/Termination of Hostilities
  • Status Based Rules: Combatants and PoWs
  • Rules Governing Hostilities I: Military Objectives
  • Rules Governing Hostilities II: Civilians and the Principle of Proportionality
  • Non‐International Armed Conflicts
  • International Human Rights Law & International Humanitarian Law
  • Terrorism Suppression & International Humanitarian Law

Recommended materials

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Preliminary reading

This is a graduate level international law course. Students who have not taken a module in Public International Law, or who have not done so for a considerable amount of time, are strongly advised to read a general textbook in advance of commencing the course. An understanding of the doctrine of sources in international law (including familiarity with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties) and the law of State responsibility is assumed. A concise and elegant textbook is Vaughan Lowe, International Law (Oxford UP 2007).

Other students may wish to a look at relevant entries in the Max Planck Encyclopaedia of Public International Law (Oxford UP, available online [subscription or institutional access required] at www.mpepil.com).

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:Kimberley Trapp
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term Two
Who may enrol:LLM students only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in International Law
Practice Assessment:Students may submit an answer to a past exam question to obtain feedback
Final Assessment:Exam (100%)