227.01 Use of Force in International Law

This fall-only seminar is designed to introduce students with limited familiarity with international law to principles involved in the use of force during periods of putative peace.  It will explore what circumstances constitute an “act of war” in variety of situations, to include cyberspace. 

The course will analyze when and how force may be used in self-defense and will survey topics such as humanitarian intervention, hostage rescue, air defense identification zones, freedom of navigation operations, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations (including drone strikes).  Efforts to limit the use of force in outer space as well as the implications of nuclear weapons and the emergence of autonomous weaponry will be explored.

Case studies and current news events will be examined in conjunction with the covered issues.  In addition, students will get an overview of the practical issues associated with the use of force, to include the weaponry, planning, and military techniques involved.

There is no examination, but a 20-page paper (constituting 65% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor.  With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project or other writing requirements. provided it is at least 30 pages in length.  The remainder of the grade (35%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require the preparation of short, written products.

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Reflective Writing
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
Oral presentation
Class participation
Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.227.01.F19
Email list: LAW.227.01.F19@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - LLM-ICL
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice