Accueil > International Law and the Use of Force


Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Preferably a course of Public International Law.

Course Description

The aim of the course is to study the prohibition of the use of force in contemporary international law. Some commentators claim that the field has undergone substantial changes arising especially with the development of the ‘war against terror'. Since 9/11, and this would have been confirmed after the Paris events of November 2015, self-defence against non-State actors, pre-emptive self-defence, or humanitarian intervention would have been recognized by the international community. But some other authors disagree with this interpretation of international law, pointing the ambiguity of recent precedents like Ukraine, Yemen or Syria. During this course, we will assess this legal debate by examining relevant texts, case-law and precedents. The course is composed of lectures and discussions about current precedents, especially surrounding the war against ISIS.


CORTEN, Olivier (Directeur du centre de droit international)

Pedagogical format

The course will be divided in 6 sessions (4 hours per session: 2 hours dedicated to a lecture, 1 hour to oral presentations by the Student, 1 hour to a general debate). The course will be given during 6 weeks, from mid-March to the end of April.

Course validation

Each student will be required: (i) to make a brief comment of the readings required for each session (20% of the final average grade) (ii) to make an oral presentation illustrating one aspect of the course, during one of the six sessions (30% of the final average grade); (iii) to write a paper articulating different themes of the course (5 pages max), to be sent on 1 May at the latest (50% of the final average grade).

Required reading

Olivier Corten, The Law against War. The Prohibition on the Use of Force in Contemporary International Law, Oxford, Hart Publ., 2010

Additional required reading

Documents in relation with the fight against ISIS (available at: