Clearing 2021
MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
LLM International Humanitarian Law options

Year 1, Component 06

Option(s) from list
International Criminal Law

How does international criminal law deal with terrorism? Or with genocide and crimes against humanity? What role does the International Criminal Court play? Study international criminal law and the principles of jurisdiction. Analyse the idea of state criminal responsibility. Build knowledge of human rights in relation to international criminal law.

Conflict and the United Nations: the Law related to the Use of Force, Sanctions and Peacekeeping

How does public international law apply to peace and field operations? What about international human rights law? Or the international law of armed conflict? Understand the institutional law of the United Nations. Examine foundational legal aspects of peace operations, as well as key unresolved legal issues.

Acute Crises and Displacement

Most displaced persons in the world are part of a mass displacement that may or may not cross an international border which has important consequences for the legal framework of protection. In this module you will look at the protection offered by international law to those displaced in time of acute crisis.

The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

What protection does international law offer refugees and internally displaced persons? Examine legal definitions of refugee status. Understand the guarantees provided for such groups by international human rights law. Evaluate the limitations of such laws by states in Europe and North America.

Transitional Justice

Broadly speaking transitional justice refers to the belief that any State where mass atrocities have taken place should engage with a set of judicial and non-judicial processes in order to achieve a successful transition from conflict to peace or repression to democracy. You’ll receive an overview of the history, theory, legal background and dilemmas of transitional justice, followed by in-depth discussions of the four pillars of transitional justice – truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and of their interrelatedness.

Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence never seems to be far from the headlines. Sarah O`Connor of the Financial Times was quoted in a recent House of Lords report as stating that `if you ever write an article that has robots or artificial intelligence in the headline, you are guaranteed that it will have twice as many people clicking on it`. The advent of big data and more advanced and cheaper computational power has meant that machine learning has become much more accessible and available to a wide range of actors. AI is no longer the preserve of science fiction but is already a reality with many forms of machine learning and robotics already being used today. Within the last few years, governments and major technology companies have started to release AI strategies and major investments are being made in innovation and in understanding how AI will benefit and present risks to society. AI is already offering many opportunities for the better protection of human rights while at the same time presenting serious risks. While many actors describe these risks narrowly (focusing on the right to privacy), the threats (as well as the opportunities) affect the entire human rights spectrum. For example, AI applications may be used to document human rights violations; implement the Sustainable Development Goals; respond more effectively to the refugee `crisis`; and manage the impacts of climate change. They potentially offer innovative ways to enhance access to education; enable persons with disabilities and older persons to live more autonomously; advance the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and provide ways to tackle human trafficking and forced labour. At the same time, the use of big data and AI can present significant risks to human rights, even in contexts where they are used with the intention to advance them. They can introduce new threats and aggravate and amplify existing challenges to human rights, for example by reducing accountability for rights violations due to opaque decision-making processes, or by widening inequality. This could be due to factors such as uneven distribution of benefits, discriminatory impacts and biased datasets. Big data and AI have wide ranging effects across society and individuals` lives, including collective impact, many of which are not yet fully understood. They can put the full spectrum of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – at risk. Many actors involved in the governance and regulation of AI as well as key international, regional and national human rights institutions and NGOs are starting to work on the human rights impact of AI and to develop responses, although this remains at an embryonic stage. This module is designed to enable you to learn about the different technologies that fall under the broad and popular heading of `AI` and to understand and analyse how their use in different contexts affects human rights. The module is offered by the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project based at the University of Essex. We are a major ESRC investment examining the risks and opportunities for human rights posed by big data and technology and developing effective policy, governance and regulatory responses. We work internationally on these issues and will integrate our ongoing research and practical experience on these issues into the module. This will enable you to engage with technological and policy developments as they happen in a rapidly changing field. As many international organisations, governments, technology companies and NGOs are starting to grapple with the impact of AI on human rights and the way in which they work, this module will provide preparation for study and employment after the LLM and MA across a range of domains and institutions.

Gender, Peace, Security and the Law

This module provides an in-depth overview of the legal and political frameworks developed at the international level governing gender, peace and security. Such frameworks were developed particularly to address the relative invisibility of women and gender more broadly in articulations of threats to peace and security and with a view to promoting and extending the roles of women in the development and implementation of strategies to address such threats. The module highlights the interface between feminist legal theory, international human rights law, international relations theory and additional legal frameworks relevant to key subject areas which are particularly relevant to gender, peace and security. These consist of: displacement, peacekeeping, terrorism, weapons and disarmament, investigations and commissions of inquiry, prosecutions and reparations. In the exploration of each of these subject areas, particular emphasis is placed on exploring the specific gender dimensions – both in how the subject areas are framed but equally, in understanding the tensions within those framings and the legal and policy responses that have been developed to address them and the gaps that remain.

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