Use of Force in International Law

This seminar will examine international law concerning the use of force. It focuses on jus ad bellum as opposed to jus in bello, although there will be some overlap. Students will consider the creative possibilities and practical limitations of international law for regulating the use of force in a variety of situations, especially during periods of putative peace. Case studies (contemporary and historical) will be examined in conjunction with the issues covered. The seminar will analyze what constitutes "force" and "armed attack" under international law, and will survey such topics as self-defense, humanitarian intervention, the law of rescue, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations. The characteristics of use of force in space and cyberspace also will be discussed, a s will be the use of drones and autonomous weapons systems. In addition, the lawfulness of nuclear weaponry, particularly as a deterrent, will be assessed. Students will be encouraged to relate legal and interdisciplinary sources in order to better understand the multi-faceted interaction between law and the use of force. There is no examination for this course (which will only be offered in the fall) but a 20-page paper (constituting 65% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. Students desiring to use the course paper to fulfill Upper-Level and possibly other writing requirement must obtain instructor approval and produce a paper at least 30 pages in length. The remainder of the grade (35%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation. Students should be aware that this course may include discussion and visual depictions (still and video) of armed conflict and other acts of extreme violence. The textbook for the course is Mary Ellen O'Connell's International Law and the Use of Force (2nd Ed., 2008), but students are strongly encouraged to consider obtaining a used book, or renting it (Amazon) as it will be used for about half the course, the rest of the material being provided by the instructor electronically. It is anticipated that during the fall of 2016, there will be a make-up class on Friday, September 23rd, and no class on Tuesday, November 14th.

Course Number: 
227
Course Credits: 
Course Types: 
Seminar
Course Learning Outcomes: 
(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context

 

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.