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, as 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.
Use of Force in International Law