The Law of War and Peace
This core module is designed to give students from different disciplines a grounding in the underlying principles and concepts of international law, in terms of sources, persons, jurisdiction, responsibility and settlement of disputes, but also to place them within the context of two of the central concerns of international law - war and peace.
The development of international law from the 17th century has been driven by the need to regulate warfare which occurred with significant regularity, and to stabilise the periods of peace that emerged at the end of each conflict. That division still remains in international law, though for a number of decades after the Second World War the law of war was seen as a junior partner to the law of peace.
The module will assess whether that relationship has been changed by events such as 9/11 and the response to terrorism, the on-going conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the advent of the International Criminal Court.
Politics and International Relations
Terrorism and Insurgencies
This module is designed to acquaint you with two of the most important aspects of contemporary international security: terrorism and insurgencies.
Both threats have become more acute in recent years and much intellectual, military and economic capital has been used up in efforts to contain them. In taking this module, you will begin to understand the nature of the threats posed by terrorists and insurgents. You will understand how such threats come about and why individuals are drawn towards exercising the use of force against certain governments, their representatives, and the citizens of those governments.
You will also understand the nature and scope of counter-insurgency practices. You will discuss what works and what does not and the controversies encountered in implementing certain measures. By the end of the module, you will be conversant with, and have an appreciation of, factors which affect the security of many people in today's world.
You will undertake a 60-credit dissertation. Guidance and support on choosing a dissertation topic will be provided.
Qualifying module options
An Uncensored History of International Law
This module consists of an examination of the major theoretical approaches to public international law and aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the diverse theoretical approaches to public international law and to discern the influence of these approaches on the practical development of public international law.
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
This module explores a number of contemporary issues which have given rise to controversy within criminal justice processes with reference to different comparative models. A comparative method is employed to examine how these issues are treated across a range of different criminal justice systems.
Critical Issues in International Criminal Justice
This module builds upon the more conceptual and theoretical inquiries undertaken in Foundations of Criminal Justice by identifying emergent principles in the rapidly developing corpus of international criminal jurisprudence.
Consideration of the contribution of municipal legal systems to the pursuit of criminal justice in the international arena serves as a general introduction to the detailed doctrinal analysis of elements of crimes and defences, rules of evidence and procedure, and sentencing principles which comprises the bulk of the option.
Once identified and elaborated, rules and principles of international criminal law and procedure will be subjected to critical scrutiny, by drawing upon national and comparative legal perspectives, as well as general principles of international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights.
Detention and Imprisonment in the International Criminal Justice System
From the history of detention and imprisonment at the post-World War II International Military Tribunals, the course will progress to look at the penal regimes of the contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals, including the ICTY, ICTR, MICT, SCSL and ICC.
You will learn about the systems for and conditions in international remand detention and analyse the complaints and disciplinary procedures and oversight mechanisms operating within these international facilities.
Seminars will be devoted to discussions about the various penalties international criminal courts can impose, and the reasons international judges give for their imposition. You will also learn about life for international prisoners post-conviction, through an exploration of the various systems used to enforce international sentences of imprisonment.
Seminars will look at the degree of control international courts retain over these sentences and their responsibility for international prisoners while they are housed in national prisons. This module will also look at the remedies that should be and are available for international prisoners whose human rights have been violated, and address the question of whether it is necessary, feasible or desirable to create an international prison system.
International Criminal Law
An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.
The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability, defences and elements of international criminal procedure will also be covered.
International Human Rights Law
This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated. A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.
International Humanitarian Law
This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.
International Law on the Use of Force
This module looks at principles and laws governing unilateral and multilateral resort to force by states under the United Nations Charter and in customary international law. Instances where force is permissible will be considered as well as the more controversial claims to use force.
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law
Following a review of the history of international refugee law, the module focuses on the legal context of forced displacement today, including the rights and obligations of States and the rights of individuals.
The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees are reviewed, with due regard also to human rights protection. Who is a refugee, and how decisions are made, are examined with reference to key terms, such as persecution, race, religion, political opinion and social group, and in light of selected contemporary issues, such as conscientious objection to military service, women refugees, flight from conflict, security, terrorism, and 'exclusion'.
The module also considers the legal standing of currently contested issues, such as the right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, procedural standards, the responsibility to determine asylum claims, and extra-territorial measures of interception.
Examples from different jurisdictions and the practice of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are used to focus attention on the adequacy of existing international mechanisms, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by migration, human smuggling, trafficking, internal displacement, complex emergencies (including protracted conflict) and humanitarian assistance.
United Nations Law
This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO).
- the UN's constitutional basis
- its legal personality and powers
- membership and budgetary matters
- representation and decision making
- sanctions regimes
- the UN's military options
- issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
- the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
Politics and International Relations
The Road to Guantanamo: The Treatment and Experience of Prisoners, Civilian Internees and Detainees since 1860
This module explores the way in which state authorities have treated prisoners of war, civilian internees and detainees from circa 1860 - the dawn of the modern era of international humanitarian law - to the present day. It examines developments in state practice and international law relating to the detention of 'enemy' individuals, and explores different national, ideological and cultural approaches to the issue of captivity.
The module is explicitly historical in character and methodology but will draw on international and political theory where appropriate to explain state and individual behaviour.
The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy
This module focuses on the changing nature of diplomatic practice, together with the range of conceptual tools that seek to explain this international activity. Its focus is contemporary.
It provides a political analysis of new developments such as the public diplomacy, the decline of resident embassies and foreign ministries, and the role of regional/multinational organisations and summitry. It also encourages you to consider future theoretical and practical developments in this field.
War, Peace and Terror
This module explores the blurring boundaries between war and peace, and the implications for understanding security.
The first section assesses the changing nature of warfare, including theories of asymmetric warfare and terrorism; the second section examines the 'dark arts' of international relations, from assassination to psychological warfare, operating in the grey area between war and peace.
With large scale conventional warfare increasingly unlikely, the third section considers 'new' security issues in peacetime such as poverty and disease.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.