International Humanitarian Law


Course Objective

The course conveys
- knowledge and understanding of international conflict and
security law, including jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum;
- the capability to identify and apply theoretical approaches from
international law and political science;
- a critical, creative and innovative attitude with regard to the
way in which problems in the area of international conflict and security
are framed in academic, legal and policy debates;
- a critical, creative and innovative attitude with regard to the
existing legal framework in the field of international conflict and
- a critical, creative and innovative attitude with regard to
academic research as well as research results.

Course Content

The course provides a systematic treatment of the basic rules and
principles of international humanitarian law.
It examines the practice and law related to international humanitarian
law and in particular the qualification of conflicts, the distinction
between combatants and non combatants, the methods and means of warfare,
the protection of civilians and prisoners of war, the law of neutrality
and war crimes.
It also considers current problems in international humanitarian law,
including the challenges pose by new form of conflicts and violence, the
interplay between international humnaitarian law and human rights law,
the regulation of private military companies.

Teaching Methods

The module will be delivered through lectures. Students are expected to
read beforehand the required materials beforehand and to actively
participate in the discussion. Students are also invited to make a 10-
minute informal presentation starting with week 2.

1. Nature and scope of IHL;
2. Sources of IHL;
3. Qualification of armed conflicts;
4. Combatants and non-combatants;
5. Persons hors de combat and prisoners of war;
6. Conduct of hostilities I;
7. Conduct of hostilities II;
8. Law of occupation;
9. Implementation of IHL;
10. Private military companies;
11. Case study: Eritrea – Ethiopia Claims Commission;
12. Case study: Eritrea – Ethiopia Claims Commission.

The course will be completed by a role play exercise.

Method of Assessment

The course will be assessed by:
- A paper.


Required materials:
- R. Kolb, R. Hyde, An Introduction to the International Law of Armed
Conflicts, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2008.
- Literature, documents and cases indicated in the reading list for each
lecture, which will be available on Canvas.

Recommended materials:
- L. Green, Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict, Manchester University
Press, 2000.
- F. Kalshoven, L. Zegveld, Constraints on the waging of war, CICR,
Geneva, 2001 (available at
- Y. Dinstein, The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International
Armed Conflict, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- M. Sassoli, A. Bouvier, How Does Law Protect in War, Geneva, ICRC,
Second edition, 2006.

Target Audience

This course is not open for exchange students.

General Information

Course Code R_Int.hum.l
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator prof. dr. W.G. Werner
Examiner prof. dr. W.G. Werner
Teaching Staff prof. dr. W.G. Werner

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture