UCL Faculty of Laws


International Humanitarian Law (LAWS0278)

An in-depth examination of international humanitarian law and the interaction between IHL and other relevant international law regimes (including human rights, ICL and terrorism suppression).

We will begin by considering the core distinctions in IHL – in particular international/noninternational 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 several sets of regime interaction which increasingly inform the practice of IHL – in particular, that between International Human Rights Law and IHL, International Criminal Law and IHL, and the international terrorism suppression regime and IHL.

Module Syllabus

•    Introduction to the Law of Armed Conflict: General Concepts and History
•    Classification of Armed Conflicts and Commencement/Termination of Hostilities
•    Status Based Rules: Combatants, civilians, ‘DPH’ and targeted killings
•    Status Based Rules: POWs and other Protected Persons 
•    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
•    International Criminal 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.

Key information

Module details
Credit value:22.5 credits (225 learning hours)
Convenor:Kimberley Trapp
Other Teachers:Megan Donaldson
Teaching Delivery:Face to Face Seminar
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only


Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:

LLM in International Law

Practice Assessment:TBD
Final Assessment:2 Hour Timed Online Examination (100%)