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International Humanitarian Law (6 ECTS)

Lecturer(s):  prof. dr. P. Merkouris, prof. mr. dr. B.C.A. Toebes

When: Block 3

Brief course description: 
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.

Teaching method: 
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).

Assessment: Written exam (essay questions) (digital if possible) or oral exam, depending on the number of participants 

*Official course information and schedules during the academic year can be found in Ocasys.

Last modified:13 August 2018 12.55 p.m.