PACS 513: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

This course focuses on international humanitarian law (IHL) as developed by the Geneva and The Hague Conventions. Students move forward with a solid understanding of the aims and objectives of IHL. They get acquainted with the various protection and legal restriction of IHL in minimizing the sufferings caused by the armed conflict. They also explore various ways of implementing these laws and the obstacles.
The course begins with introduction of the current frameworks of IHL and the major historical trends in their development. It then goes on to discuss the types of situation where IHL is applicable and the ways in which IHL seeks to ensure humane treatment of the different kinds of people that experience armed conflict in different ways. It discusses human rights laws in relation to humanitarian laws and explores the debate surrounding the issue of their convergence. A major focus of the course is on the implementation of IHL. It discusses the role and responsibility of ICRC, different kinds of responses to the grave breaches of the law during armed conflict including war crimes. Toward the end, the course deals with some of the limitations of IHL, especially the challenges of the changing nature of warfare and human distress. It also sheds light on critiques of IHL.

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