International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice – Online Course


International Humanitarian LawInternational LawLaw

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Beginner Level

Basic understanding of (international) law is helpful.

Approx. 12 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week


Subtitles: English


Syllabus – What you will learn from this course


1 hour to complete

Welcome to this course!

It is great that you are joining us! In this course you will get a deep insight into the law that governs armed conflict. Before you start with “International Humanitarian Law in Theory and
Practice”, we invite you to first take a look around the course content. As you will notice, this MOOC starts with an introduction module in order to help you study successfully… 
1 video (Total 6 min), 7 readings

2 hours to complete

Introduction to International Humanitarian Law

In the first week, we will introduce you to the basic concepts of IHL, its history and place in the international legal order. We will discuss two different areas of IHL, “Hague law” and “Geneva
law” respectively, and its main legal instruments. At the end, we will look at armed conflict and the protection of war victims from a human rights law perspective, in an engag… 
2 videos (Total 11 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz


3 hours to complete

Conflict classification

In this second week, we will study the scope of application of IHL. IHL regulates armed conflict, and therefore we will start by exploring the two different types of armed conflicts: international
and non-international armed conflicts (IACs and NIACs). We will also look at the different rules that apply to each type of conflict. In this module, we will furthermore discover… 
5 videos (Total 35 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes


4 hours to complete

Conduct of hostilities

In this week, we will look through the eyes of combatants and other fighters, and learn how military operations should be conducted. We will familiarize ourselves with the most important
principles that need to be applied on the battlefield including those of distinction, proportionality, precautions and the prohibition of unnecessary suffering. We will discover t… 
6 videos (Total 40 min), 3 readings, 3 quizzes



5 hours to complete

Protection of persons

In this module we will look through the eyes of sick and wounded soldiers, detainees, enemy civilians and vulnerable persons in conflict, including children and women. We will discover how
IHL safeguards persons who are not – or not anymore – fighting. Together, we will find out that each person should be treated humanely; that detainees should receive water … 
6 videos (Total 35 min), 6 readings, 4 quizzes



Robert Heinsch

Prof. Dr.

Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

Giulia Pinzauti


Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

Emma Irving


Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

Cinny Buys


Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

About Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University is one of Europe’s foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a
leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. Leiden University is the oldest
university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of
Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish. Our motto is: Praesidium Libertatis — Bastion of

About Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum

The Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law provides a platform within the Grotius Centre
for International Legal Studies (Leiden University) for the research, teaching and dissemination of international
humanitarian law (IHL). Additionally, the Forum offers students of the regular Public International Law master in
Leiden to participate in its IHL Clinic and to work on research projects of partner institutions in the field. With
these activities, the forum aims to create better protection and assistance for victims of war and more respect for
humanity in armed conflict.

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Starts Jan 06
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