International Humanitarian Law

Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
Jaar 2022/23
Vakcode RGMIR50306
Vaknaam International Humanitarian Law
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester II a (blok 3)

Uitgebreide vaknaam International Humanitarian Law
Leerdoelen The main objective of the course is not only to familiarize the students with the relevant legal framework (treaties and customary rules) on international humanitarian law but also to train them in being able to reach an informed conclusion when faced with any conceivable IHL scenario where no clear-cut or easily available answer can be found in legal texts.

After the successful completion of this course, students will:
- have specialised knowledge of and insight into international humanitarian law (IHL) as a separate field of law, in particular with reference to the basic principles of international humanitarian law, the types of armed conflict, the status(es) of persons under IHL, the main rules related to conduct of hostilities, and its application in practice;
- be aware of the broader context within which IHL functions and the role of IHL specialists within the international community;
- be able to independently collect, assess and apply relevant facts, cases and literature in order to solve complex issues in IHL;
- be able to independently participate in IHL discourse among colleagues;
- be able to convey to an international and diverse group of colleagues, and to the public, a complex argumentation in the field of IHL;
- have knowledge and understanding of career options;
- understand the need for continuous study and critical reflection to keep up with (technological) developments in the field of IHL.
Omschrijving This module focuses on the law applicable to international and non-international armed conflicts. It discusses the Hague law (means and methods of warfare), Geneva law (on the protection of specific groups), and customary international humanitarian law (IHL).
The course will start with a historical overview of the development of IHL its legal basis and scope of application as well as the distinction between international and non-international armed conflicts (IACs and NIACs).
The course will then shift from a theoretical/historical perspective towards a more practical one. This re-focus will start with the examination of the various actors and groups involved in armed conflict, the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and controversial actors like militia and terrorists. It will then move to the various means and methods of warfare, the cardinal principles of international humanitarian law (principle of distinction, prohibition of unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury), prohibited acts (attacks on civilians, assassination and ‘no quarter’, perfidy), military necessity, military objectives, precautions to be taken when attacking.
Since no area of law exists in clinical isolation from the others, the course will conclude with an examination of the highly topical interface between international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Lectures are the main teaching method, but students will have to study and critically reflect upon IHL textbooks as well as recent articles on a variety of topical and highly debated IHL issues. Group assignments, presentations and crisis simulations will be an integral part of certain of the seminars. Military and academic experts in the field of IHL will also be invited to deliver lectures on specific topics (such as targeting).
Uren per week 2
Onderwijsvorm hoorcollege
(7 2-hour lectures)
Toetsvorm schriftelijk (essayvragen) (digitaal), schriftelijk of mondeling, afhankelijk van het aantal deelnemers
Vaksoort m5-niveau, juridisch
Coördinator prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. Toebes
Docent(en) dr. mr. A.J.J. de Hoogh ,dr. mr. A.G. Hallo de Wolf ,prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. Toebes
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Emily Crawford, International Humanitarian Law, Second Edition (CUP 2020) ca. €  47,00
Reader and materials made available through Studentportal (Nestor) or the Klapperwinkel.
  • This course is only accessible for students that have been fully admitted to a master's degree programme within the Faculty of Law.
  • Compulsory: Bachelor course on public international law
  • This course is not open to non-law exchange students.
Opmerkingen Not accessible for students who passed the course 'International Law 6' before 1-9-07.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
Exchange programme Law 1 semester II a optional
LLM International Human Rights Law 1 semester II a a. optional compulsory
LLM Public International Law 1 semester II a optional compulsory
Open Colleges 1 semester II a keuze