This course examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict (IAC), also known as the Law of The Hague. As such, it covers prohibited means and methods of warfare, allowing participants to judge objectively whether the behaviour of a party to a conflict conforms to the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) applicable in a specific instance. Following this course, participants will know who the protected persons and goods are and what IHL rules can be used for their protection in IAC.
This course aims to study, in depth, an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law (IHL) and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts (ACs). The course first analyzes the contours of the various categories of ACs (e.g. international AC, internationalized non-international ACs, wars of national liberation, belligerent occupations, high-intensity and low-intensity non-international ACs) in connection with the traditional distinction between non-international and international ACs. The course then questions the relevance of this last distinction in light of the requirements of contemporary ACs and the increased role played by independent actors within them. The course relies, as much as possible, on concrete examples illustrating the different categories of ACs and the controversies they raise.
While international humanitarian law (IHL) was initially drafted and is still most detailed for international armed conflicts (IACs), most armed conflicts are today of a non-international character (NIACs). This course discusses the protection offered by IHL in NIACs and examines why and to what extent IHL of IACs and IHL of NIACs are different or similar, as well as where the rules applicable to NIACs can be found. The course also addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
This course examines the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL) as well as the threshold criteria for its applicability to an armed conflict. It provides an introduction to the key principles and terminology of IHL. After completing this course, participants will have a thorough knowledge of the sources of IHL as well as the rules governing its application in the field.