If understood in a broad sense, the contemporaneous law of international peace and security rests on the two main pillars of the prohibition on the use of force, and its exceptions (ius contra bellum) as well as the law of armed conflict (ius in bello). While the ius contra bellum answers the question as to whether a State is entitled to use force in its international relations, the ius in bello guides the legal assessment of how force may be used in the course of a military operation.
More recently, a discussion has emerged as to whether there is a need for a ius post bellum as a third set of international rules concerning "war and peace". A ius post bellum could govern the formulation of peace treaties or decisions on measures to consolidate a fragile peace. The development of international criminal law and international criminal jurisdictions after 1945 and, in particular since the 1990s, is closely connected with the debate about an international law after an armed conflict. International criminal law includes the crime of aggression, meaning the severe violation of the ius contra bellum, and war crimes, which are serious violations of the ius in bello. Work at the Institute is devoted to the research and teaching of these questions of international law in a comprehensive fashion and in co-operation with leading institutions in the field in Germany and abroad.
The Institute also seeks an interdisciplinary dialogue with scholars in the fields of ethics, history and international relations.
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