This seminar is intended to provide students with an interest in international humanitarian law (IHL) with an opportunity to undertake indepth research, and write a substantial paper, on key issues in IHL. Potential topics include thresholds for the application of IHL, the interface of IHL with human rights law and domestic law, the protection of civilians and non-combatants from the effects of conflict, the application of IHL protections to unprivileged belligerents, the standards for detention under IHL, including both permissible duration and treatment, emerging trends regulating the use of lethal force as a first resort under IHL, arms control and IHL (landmines, cluster munitions, autonomous weapons), the application of IHL to cyber “warfare”, U.S. interpretation of customary and treaty IHL, the efficacy of IHL in current conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and other topics. Building upon a foundation of assigned readings on core IHL topics, the professors and students will tailor classroom work to coincide with the students’ research projects. Students will be expected to participate actively in class and to share their own research during the semester with other students.
Through a structured process to develop a scholarly paper on international humanitarian law, we aim to give the student, working closely with the professor, an opportunity to explore his or her topic in depth and to write a paper worthy of publication in a law journal.