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International Law and Peace in a Multilateral World



This course is intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge of, and insights into, the basic principles and rules of international law relating to the maintenance and restoration of peace and security, and the international law in respect of the use of armed force in international relations.
Emphasis is placed on past and contemporary events and issues. Topics covered include:

  • The general principles in respect of the prohibition on the use of force (jus ad bellum / jus contra bellum) and the role of international law

  • the right of states to resort to self-defence, including the regulation of anticipatory or preventive self-defence

  • humanitarian intervention and the principle of the responsibility to protect

  • collective security and the role of the United Nations (Security Council)

  • peace and justice: the role of international criminal law and international human rights law

  • current developments in the law on the use of force: the war on terror, pro-democratic intervention, civil wars and failed states

  • peacekeeping and peace building after (or during) armed conflict: jus post bellum and the responsibility to rebuild

Methods of Instruction

Lectures and Seminars.
Students are expected to prepare well and participate actively.


  • C. Gray, International Law and the Use of Force, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 (New Third Edition).

  • Additional articles and reports will be placed on Blackboard.


There is no exam.
Each student has to submit a paper on one of the topics dealt with during the course (100 % of the final grade).
The length of the paper and the date and formalities in respect of the submission of the paper will be announced on Blackboard and on the first introductory lecture.


01/11/2010 13.06 Building Stichthage, The Hague 10:00-13:00
08/11/2010 13.06 Building Stichthage, The Hague 10:00-13:00
15/11/2010 13.06 Building Stichthage, The Hague 10:00-13:00
22/11/2010 401/402 Lange Houtstraat 5-7, The Hague 10:00-13:00
29/11/2010 13.06 Building Stichthage, The Hague 14.00-17.00
06/12/2010 13.06 Building Stichthage, The Hague 10:00-13:00
13/12/2010 13.44 Building Stichthage, The Hague 10:00-13:00