Introduction to International Humanitarian Law

This 2-hour and 35-minute curriculum answers the basic questions relating to the law of armed conflict, or International Humanitarian Law (IHL). You will learn about the origins and sources of this body of law, which situations it applies and how to distinguish international from non-international armed conflicts. You will find out more about the specific rules protecting civilians, detainees, the wounded and sick, as well as medical personnel.

By the end of this curriculum, you will have a better grasp of the three key principles in IHL that regulate the conduct of hostilities - distinction, proportionality and precautions – and will be able to illustrate how they limit the effects of armed conflict on the civilian population. Finally, you will also learn how IHL is implemented, what happens when violations occur, and what the organization's role is in promoting respect for this body of law. Objectives:

  • Summarize, and explain at a basic level, the rules of IHL.
  • Evaluate situations, assess how those situations would be classified under IHL, and know where to find the applicable law.
  • Identify situations that are at risk of being non-compliant with IHL and understand when additional support might be necessary (e.g. legal advisor).
  • Recall where to find relevant information to support an IHL-informed decision-making. This curriculum is designed for both new and experienced humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers with no prior legal background. This course was generously provided by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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How to register

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