International Humanitarian Law
Armed conflicts have always existed around the world. Unfortunately, recent events have shown that this phenomenon is becoming increasingly complex, especially with respect to some legal issues, such as:
- The definition of combatants and the protection of detainees when terrorists are involved in the hostilities.
- The detention by rebels of State armed forces.
- The involvement and status of UN peacekeepers in armed conflicts.
This course will help you understand these complex legal issues by teaching you the law of armed conflict , a branch of public international law also known as ‘International Humanitarian Law’ (‘IHL’).We will address these issues in light of recent practice, including counter-terrorism, such as the fight against non-state actors like ISIS and Al-Qaeda in different regions of the world, as well as other recent and older conflicts, such as those in Armenia, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, and the Israeli-Palestinian one.
The course will provide essential theoretical and practical knowledge for students, researchers and academics who wish to specialize in International Humanitarian Law as well as professionals, including members of NGOs, involved in armed conflict situations, or even members of armed forces.
In this course, you can choose between an audit (free) track and a verified track ($199 fee).
Upcoming start dates
- Self-paced Online
Who should attend?
- Knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law (subjects and sources of International Law/principles governing international responsibility). Such knowledge may be acquired by the successful completion of International law.
- In addition, students should be familiar with the requirements of graduate-level courses and should preferably have already followed some law courses in order to be familiar with legal concepts and legal language.
Week 1: Introduction
Introductory remarks about International Humanitarian Law, including the relationships between law and armed conflicts, a brief history of that Law and its relations with other branches of International Law, such as international human rights law.
Week 2: Sources and subjects
Analysis of the sources (treaty, including the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, custom and jus cogens) as well as subjects (States, international organizations like the United Nations and armed groups) of International Humanitarian Law.
Week 3: Scope of application
Qualification of situations of violence as armed conflicts and analysis of the temporal and geographical scope of application of International Humanitarian Law.
Week 4: Conduct of hostilities
Analysis of the norms regulating the conduct of hostilities, including the prohibitions to target persons and objects, the prohibitions to use weapons and methods of warfare and the obligation of precaution.
Week 5: Protection of persons
Analysis of the norms regulating the protection of persons in time of war, notably the wounded and sick people, the captured combatants and the civilians, including in time of occupation.
Week 6: State responsibility
Introductory remarks on the implementation means of International Humanitarian Law and analysis of State responsibility mechanisms in case of violations of that Law.
Week 7: Individual responsibility
Analysis of the relevant rules of international criminal law, including the national/international/hybrid mechanisms for the punishing of individuals responsible of war crimes.
Course delivery details
This course is offered through Catholic University of Louvain, a partner institute of EdX.
4-12 hours per week
- Verified Track -$199
- Audit Track - Free
Certification / Credits
What you'll learn
- Decode and analyze in depth complex issues related to armed conflicts.
- Understand the philosophy and logic underlying International Humanitarian Law norms.
- Be able to propose constructive solutions in light of the evolution of the nature of armed conflicts and the legal norms applicable to them.
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