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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED3504 Critically Analysing The Responsibility to Protect

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Professor Jason Ralph

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module focuses on the Responsibility to Protect agreement which was unanimously endorsed at the United Nations in 2005. It sets out a responsibility to protect people the world over from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Since then, the United Nations has invoked the Responsibility to Protect in over 50 UN Security Council Resolutions as it engages with mass violence in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, and the Democratic Republic of Congo - to name just a few. The increase in mass violence around the world raises critical questions for the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations. Amidst this reality, experts and policymakers remain divided over whether the Responsibility to Protect is a helpful or harmful agreement. The teachers on this module are part of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect which was launched at the University of Leeds in December 2016. They introduce students to cutting edge research, guest speakers, a student coalition on the Responsibility to Protect and offer the chance to publish their essay in the student coalition's on-line journal.


This module aims to provide students with an advanced knowledge of the contemporary debates that surround the Responsibility to Protect. In so doing, it will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the issues that surround prevention and prosecution through a focus on case studies, the emergence of the R2P as a norm

Learning outcomes
• Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative, and transferable skills including an ability to evaluate advanced concepts, to employ primary and secondary sources, to present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form, to pursue independent learning and to show critical judgement
• Understand key concepts such as legitimacy, international law, sovereignty, and humanitarian intervention.
• Demonstrate an ability to compare and contrast different case studies of mass atrocity crimes


1. What is RtoP? History and Origins
2. How does RtoP change the conception of international responsibility? How do we allocate the international responsibility to protect
3. Military intervention and regime change: Côte d'Ivoire and Libya
4. RtoP as an internalized or hollow norm
5. The Death of RtoP? Syria
6. Reimagining RtoP? The debate on prevention and the Myanmar case
7. Atrocity Prevention. Prosecution: ICC case study
8. Atrocity Prevention. Prosecution: ICC case study
9. Taking Stock Lecture and Essay Planning Seminar
10. Current and Future Challenges
11. Current and Future Challenges.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are required to do a considerable amount of reading, be able to respond in an appropriate manner to the material and engage in class discussions.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Submit a 500 word essay plan including introduction to the Module Leader who will provide feedback to students.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000 End of Term essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/10/2023 10:48:08


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