LAW4689 - International humanitarian law - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Prof Marilyn Pittard

Unit guides



  • Term 2 2018 (On-campus block of classes)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112 and LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015:

LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104




International humanitarian law (IHL) is a body of law that governs the conduct of armed conflict. It is established and developed to limit the effects of armed conflict, including establishing protection for civilians and for combatants no longer participating in the conflict. After an introduction to the concept and role of IHL, the unit examines its historical development, the body of rules and their sources, particularly the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, and the development of IHL through the interpretation of custom by international courts and tribunals, by states and by the International Committee of the Red Cross. As part of the foregoing focus, one theme will be the existing and evolving interactions of IHL with international human rights law (IHRL), international criminal law (ICL), and transnational counter-terrorism law (TCTL) - including in relation to torture and other mistreatment of detainees (eg. Afghanistan), targeted killings by drones (eg. Yemen), and massacres or mass expulsions of civilians (eg. Sri Lanka and Myanmar).


At the successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding of the regulation of armed conflict through international humanitarian law;
  • investigate, analyse and synthesise information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to international humanitarian law and its relationship with neighbouring areas of law;
  • conduct basic research in international humanitarian law based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods; and
  • use cognitive, technical and creative skill to generate and evaluate ideas and concepts relevant to the enforcement of international humanitarian law and to current and future challenges for international humanitarian law.


Prato attendance requirement: Students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit.

Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

Class participation: 10%

Research assignment (2,250 words): 45%

Take home examination (2,250 words): 45%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester [in Prato they will have 36 contact hours over one month] whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering.

See also Unit timetable information