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Study information

International Law of Armed Conflict

Module titleInternational Law of Armed Conflict
Module codeLAWM159
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Aurel Sari (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, you will study how international law regulates the conduct of warfare. War is an unfortunate, but persistent feature of human civilization. The course will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the legal limits of warfare, including categories of persons protected during hostilities, targets that may be attacked, collateral damage, prohibited weapons as well as various battlefield tactics, such targeted killings and military deception. Throughout the module, we will apply the law to a set of practical scenarios. This will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the applicable rules and help you to better appreciate the operational challenges that the armed forces and their legal advisors face.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this course is to provide you with a detailed understanding of the core concepts, principles and rules of the law of armed conflict. In doing so, the course sheds light on how the law of armed conflict seeks to balance considerations of military necessity with humanitarian values and the desire to limit human suffering. The module aims to provide a strong foundation for further study or practice in this area.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate detailed knowledge of the core concepts, principles and rules of the law of armed conflict with a particular emphasis on the rules applicable to land warfare;
  • 2. demonstrate critical understanding of the practical and conceptual challenges arising in the implementation of the law of armed conflict.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. demonstrate flexible and innovative ability to develop, apply and critically assess international legal arguments, using a wide range of appropriate primary materials and advanced scholarship;
  • 4. select, integrate, evaluate and present relevant law and complex legal arguments, clearly, autonomously and competently.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. manage relevant learning resources and complex information confidently and independently, and to develop own arguments and opinions at a very high level;
  • 6. communicate and engage in debate effectively and accurately;
  • 7. work independently, within a limited time frame, to complete a specified task.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:


  • overview of the sources and development of the law of armed conflict;
  • material, geographical and temporal scope of application;
  • battlefield status and protection of persons;
  • military objectives;
  • means and methods of warfare;
  • precautions in attack.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Weekly seminars (10 x 1.5 hours)
Guided Independent Study50Preparation for seminars
Guided Independent Study35Preparation for formative assessment
Guided Independent Study50Preparation for summative assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exam-style question 750 words1-7Written feedback with percentage grade

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination1001.5 hours1-7Written feedback with percentage grade

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (1.5 hours)Examination (1.5 hours)1-7Referral/Deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Dinstein, The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict (4th edn, 2022)
  • Crawford and Pert, International Humanitarian Law (2nd edn, 2020)
  • Solis, The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War (3rd edn, 2021)
  • Clapham and Gaeta, The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict (2014)
  • Kolb and Hyde, An Introduction to the International Law of Armed Conflicts (2008)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, law of war, public international law, war

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date