Human rights, international humanitarian law (IHL) and disarmament and arms control law are three bodies of public international law that are interlinked in their application. International instruments, especially in recent years, are often contributing to the development and strengthening of two or all three of these bodies of law. Human rights and IHL considerations are often taken into account in the development new disarmament instruments, some which may even be part of other bodies of law.

This course will introduce the students to the interlinkages of human rights, with a focus on the right to life, and disarmament from a practitioner's perspective. Students will be introduced to the main disarmament instruments that have an impact on the right to life. Special attention will be given to the Convention on the prohibition of certain conventional weapons (CCW) and its protocols, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (MBC), the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The latter will be addressed more in-depth during the course. Some select regional and sub-regional instruments will also be discussed.

Students will further learn about the inter-linkages between human rights, IHL and disarmament beyond existing treaty law, with a focus on nuclear weapons and the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. The course will introduce students to the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice in relation to the use of nuclear weapons as well as resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.

In order to prepare themselves for the course, students are encouraged to refresh their knowledge of the nine core human rights treaties, especially the ICCPR, CRC and CEDAW, as well as the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. 

Instructor: Dr. Marco Kalbusch, Secretary of the Conference of Disarmament, United Nations