LAWS5220 International Humanitarian Law

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
This unit explores the development and operation of international humanitarian law, which is the body of public international law that regulates conduct during armed conflict. The unit examines key issues relating to international humanitarian law and its application, enabling students to examine the historical and theoretical developments, sources, fundamental principles and objectives of the rules governing both international and internal armed conflicts. Topics include the constraints on means and methods of warfare; the protection of civilians and prisoners of war; means of enforcement of international humanitarian law, including criminal prosecution; and the relationship of the laws of armed conflict with international human rights law, and national law. The unit has a research focus, developing the independent research skills of students who explore a variety of primary and secondary materials in the field of international humanitarian law.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, its relationship with other branches of international law and its application in the real world; (2) engage with the theoretical debates underlying the principles of humanitarian law, use and critically examine theoretical material on international humanitarian law, and situate and critically evaluate political and cultural factors which influence the development and application of international humanitarian law; (3) utilise a variety of primary and secondary sources and apply appropriate research methods to investigate research questions in international humanitarian law; (4) present orally and in writing well developed and critical arguments on issues relating to international humanitarian law and its application in the field; and (5) apply international humanitarian law to real world situations.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay; (2) film review; and (3) in-class participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Melanie O'Brien
Contact hours
Students must attend every day of the intensive period 12, 13, 19 April. Refer to the timetable website for further information.
Students must watch all the pre-recorded lecture videos and attend every day of the intensive face-to-face period.

Emily Crawford & Alison Perth, International Humanitarian Law (2nd edition, Cambridge, 2020).

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.