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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Human Rights Law and Armed Conflict (LAWS11481)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to consider four issues that have generated considerable debate and polarized opinion.
Course description First, we will consider the extent to which human rights law can apply to armed conflict. In so doing we will examine the principal applicable sources of human rights law; identify, define, and classify the activities of armed forces; consider the relationship between international humanitarian law and human rights law; and analyse the extraterritorial application of human rights law. Second, we will look in detail at a range of military activities and analyse the relevant human rights law. This will include a consideration of lethal and non-lethal targeting, detention operations and air and maritime warfare. It will further consider a careful analysis of the right to life, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, and the right to liberty. Third, we will analyse the obligations on states to investigate alleged human rights law violations during armed conflict and the enforcement of human rights law. Finally, through an analysis of recent armed conflicts, we will consider the extent to which human rights law can impact the military effectiveness of armed forces and what, if anything, states can do to limit the effect of human rights law. Throughout the course we will consider both the theoretical legal framework applicable to armed conflict and the practical consequences of the application of a state┬┐s human rights law obligations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) An essay of 5000 words (100%) in response to an essay title chosen from a number set by the instructor.
Feedback Students will be required to analyse a legal proposition in no more than 750 words. Feedback will be provided in the seminar in the form of whole class feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. On completing this module, students will have gained a strong grounding in debates about the extent to which human rights law applies during armed conflict and the consequences of this on a state's ability to achieve its military objectives.
  2. The course will enable students to conduct independent research in this area of inquiry by exposing them to a range of contemporary sources, and also enable them to form sophisticated arguments drawing on these sources.
  3. This class is intended to be an interactive seminar-style course and so communication with peers is crucial. If class size inhibits this, then, where possible, group activities will be devised to ensure that all students develop their communication skills.
  4. A focus on a number of recent armed conflicts will enable students to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world examples and analyse the impact of human rights law on military operations.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Please see Learning Outcomes for an indication of the transferable skills and Graduate Attributes gained from this course.
KeywordsHuman Rights,Armed Conflict
Course organiserDr Ian Park
Course secretaryMs Susanna Wickes
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