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  3. Post-Conflict State-Building

Post-Conflict State-Building (LAWS70313)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70313
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject deals with the body of law and practice that applies to states as they emerge from conflict and try to build strong, prosperous and responsive communities. It lies at the intersection of several bodies of law including international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and domestic constitutional law. Many of the issues with which it deals are at the cutting-edge of these fields: the extra-territorial effect of constitutional law; the possibility of a ‘lex pacificatoria’ to govern the ambiguous character of intra-state peace agreements; the legitimacy of constitutions developed with international assistance; the notion of transformative military occupation. The two teachers in this highly innovative subject bring different bodies of expertise to bear on it. Professor Bruce Oswald is an international and international humanitarian law specialist; Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders works in the area of comparative constitutional law. Both have practical experience of aspects of post-conflict state-building, which informs their approach to teaching and research in the field.

Principal topics include:

  • The concepts inherent in post-conflict state-building
  • International humanitarian law and the law of occupation
  • Current trends in peace-building
  • The relevance of constitution building to post-conflict state-building
  • Role and use of human rights to protect vulnerable groups
  • The relevance of context in post-conflict state-building programs
  • Role and contribution of civil society.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the various phases through which a state is likely to pass in the aftermath of major conflict, in theory and by reference to particular recent case studies
  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal regimes that apply or may apply to each phase
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the linkages between each phase, so as to anticipate difficulties and conceive the process as a whole
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the processes, problems, achievements and failures of post-conflict State building
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the legal and practical limitations on the role of the international community during post-conflict state-building
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the problems of legal principle associated with post-conflict state-building and the critical capacity to identify and evaluate the options for resolving them in the future
  • Have a detailed understanding of post-conflict state-building in an international and human rights context
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas about the interaction between various areas of public international and domestic law in the context of post-conflict state-building
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging questions of legal principle and practice relating to post-conflict state-building
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding post-conflict State building to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and student in the field of post-conflict state-building.

Last updated: 11 November 2018