International Humanitarian Law - 2022 Edition

The course is aimed to provide participants with advanced knowledge of International Humanitarian Law and to offer an innovative analysis of the legal uncertainties surrounding new-age military capabilities namely drones and other weaponry systems.


SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
International humanitarian law
Geneva law
international humanitarian law
laws of war

War remains a matter of great concern to humanity. Recent conflicts have demonstrated that the ravages of war continue to have a devastating impact especially on the civilian population.

The first week of the course will introduce participants to basic principles, sources and sanctions of International Humanitarian Law, from its conception in 1859 on the battlefield of Solferino to contemporary warfare. Once equipped with this basic knowledge, participants will learn more about the questions of applicability, i.e. the scope of applicability of International Humanitarian Law and the relationship with Human Rights Law. Participants will then learn the specificities of the “Hague Law”, which focuses on the regulation of the means and methods of warfare in order to limit human suffering. In this third week, participants will notably be familiarized with the challenges raised by the development and sophistication of weapons, which makes problematic to distinguish between civilians and combatant. The last week of the course will cover the “Geneva Law” and particularly the rules on the protection of victims of armed conflicts and the challenges this protection is facing due to the emergence of new forms of armed conflicts.

The course is composed of 4 modules that will be covered in 4 weeks. Participants will have to complete successfully the quiz of each module (on per week) in order to access the content of the next module. The course will be concluded with a final essay question.

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Target Audience

The online course is aimed at students and professionals seeking a deeper understanding of international humanitarian law.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Identify the principles and rules, sources and sanctions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL);
  • Determine the scope of applicability of IHL with regard to the applicability of Human Rights Law and unconventional conflicts such as terrorism;
  • Analyze the core principles guiding the means and methods of warfare and assess their efficacy regarding modern weapons namely drones and ‘killer robots’;
  • Discuss the fundamental knowledge of protection granted to the victims of war, combatants and civilian persons and goods;
  • Critically analyze how IHL overall responds to emerging challenges.