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QLLM473 Use of Force in International Law (Sem 1)

Module description

The principle prohibiting the use of force in the conduct of international relations is widely regarded as one of the most fundamental principles in the United Nations Charter -Art. 2(4). Two exceptions to the basic prohibition were nevertheless provided for. States were permitted to use force in self-defence, and the Security Council was also expressly authorised by the Charter to use force where this was necessary to maintain international peace and security. The exact scope of the prohibition and the exceptions thereto, has however been the subject matter of intense controversy and differing interpretations by states as well as academic writers. This module will analyse the legal regulation of unilateral use of force in a broad historical context. This includes a detailed analysis of the nature and scope of the prohibition contained in Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter; the circumstances under which a valid  claim of self-defence and collective self-defence can be made in inter-state relations. The final part of the module examines the powers of the Security Council arising under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, including the authority to establish peace-keeping operations. It concludes with a discussion of the difficult question of the circumstances when individuals may held individually responsible for waging an aggressive war.



Applicable programmes

  • LLM in Human Rights Law
  • LLM in Public International Law
  • Laws (General)
  • LLM Flexible Study.

Mode of Assessment

2.15 hour written examination


22.5 Credits

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