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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Frederick M. Lorenz
LAW H 542
Seattle Campus

International Humanitarian Law

Investigates International Humanitarian Law (sometimes called the Law of Armed Conflict), the field concerned with rules developed by civilized nations to protect victims of armed conflict, including the Geneva Conventions. Case studies include the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as developments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Offered: Sp.

Class description

International Humanitarian Law, sometimes called the Law of Armed Conflict, is a branch of Public International Law. The course will begin with an introduction to the basic principles of international law and the historical development of rules developed by civilized nations to protect the victims of armed conflict and limit the destructive impact of warfare. The international criminal tribunals will be reviewed, as well as the current status of the Yugoslav Tribunal (ICTY), and the Special Court in Sierra Leone. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will be the subject of a discussion: Should the US support the ICC, or does it pose a threat to US sovereignty? During the course we will be giving special attention to the Horn of Africa countries and use detailed case studies from Somalia. We will look at the problems associated with small arms and light weapons, and recent efforts to develop a treaty for the prohibition of cluster bombs. There will be a detailed discussion of the war against terrorism (or the long war), and the legal basis for policies and action pursued by the US. Case studies will include the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Student learning goals

To review the history and development of international law.

To understand the challenges in the protection of victims of armed conflict and placing limits on warfare.

To understand the dynamic relationship between politics, human rights, and international law.

To appreciate the difficulty of applying international law to particular factual situations.

To develop an understanding of international law issues in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia

To sharpen the analysis of current events, and how the law works in its daily practical application.

General method of instruction

The course will include a combination of lecture and classroom discussion, and role playing “exercises” in which students will present arguments from different points of view.

Recommended preparation

The fundamentals of international law will be presented; previous courses in the law are not required. An interest in the law and familiarity with current world events will be beneficial.

Class assignments and grading

This is a writing course with three papers assigned, for a total of 20 pages, and no final exam. The required text book will be a course packet made available for purchase the week before class starts.

This is a writing course that will include • Two short papers, each about 1,200 words (5 typewritten pages) • One final research paper- about 2,500 words (10 typewritten pages) Each short paper will be 20% of the grade, and the final paper will be 40%. Class participation will be 20% of the final grade, this will include your oral presentation in the exercises during the last part of the course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Frederick M. Lorenz
Date: 02/02/2010