Module Identifier IP33220  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Nicholas Wheeler  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   15 Hours (15 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours (10 x 1 hour)  
Assessment Essay   1 x 3,000 word essay   50%  
  Exam   2 Hours   50%  

Aims and objectives

The aim of this module is to provide students with an undergraduate level training in the theory and practice of humanitarian intervention. The question of how the international community should respond when states commit gross and systematic human rights violation poses a fundamental challenge at the beginning of the 21st century. This module examines the political, legal, strategic and ethical issues involved in the use of force to stop such atrocities. Having provided students with a conceptual and historical framework for exploring the legitimacy and legality of using force to defend human rights, the module examines four humanitarian crisis in the 1999s. This enables students to explore how the political, legal, ethical and strategic considerations discussed in the earlier part of the module played out in specific cases. The cases selected for examination are the Western interventions in Iraq in 1991-1992; the UN/US intervention in Somalia in the period 1992-1995; the inaction over the Rwandan genocide in 1994; and NATO's intervention in Kosovo in 1999. The module will conclude by reflecting on the lessons that can be learned from these interventions for future cases, and will consider whether there is an emerging North-South consensus on the legitimacy and legality of humanitarian intervention.

The learning and teaching objectives of the module are both subject-specific and general. The latter include the development of oral and written skills through seminar presentations, the writing of an assessed essay, and a two hour examination. The different teaching techniques employed on the module will enable students to develop a range of transferable skills that are at a premium in an increasingly competitive labour market. The subject-specific objectives of the module are as follows:
- an understanding of competing definitions of humanitarian intervention
- knowledge of the historical context in which debates over humanitarian intervention emerged
- an ability to critically analyse conflicting views on the ethics of using force to end human rights emeergencies
- knowledge of the legal context
- an ability to relate conceptual issues to specific empirical cases
- an understanding of the political context of contemporary debates over soverignty and intervention in world politics

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Oliver Ramsbotham and Tom Woodhouse. Humanitarian Intervention in Contemporary Conflict.
N J Wheeler. Humanitarian Intervention in International Society.