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Free online course: International Humanitarian Law

Learn about the laws that govern war and armed conflict and how international humanitarian law protects civilians and vulnerable groups against war crimes.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) seeks to reduce the devastating impact of war and armed conflict by protecting civilians who are not participating in the hostilities. Humanitarian Law is inspired by the notion of humanity, human rights and human dignity to mitigate human suffering. IHL sets forth rules established by treaties and custom that seek to protect the affected people and outlines how the most serious violations of humanitarian law are prosecuted in international courts and tribunals.

The renowned University Leiden, one of Europe’s leading universities, is offering a free online course in International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practise. The self-paced course, which is taught by well-known instructors such as Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch, Dr. Emma Irving and Dr. Giulia Pinzauti from the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, takes approximately five hours per week to complete.

In this course you will explore the basic concepts of international humanitarian law, you will delve into the most important documents governing armed conflict and you will learn about the protection of war victims from a human rights law perspective.

You will discover that civilians who refrain from hostilities should never be targeted and which weapons are banned from use under international humanitarian law. You will also discuss current humanitarian law issues like armed drones and cyber warfare.

You will learn how international humanitarian law safeguards vulnerable groups like women and children or other persons who are no longer fighting. In the final part of this course you will explore how victims of war can claim compensation and how states and international courts and tribunals can initiate criminal prosecutions for war crimes.

Although the course contents are available for free, you have the opportunity to opt-in for a paid verified certificate in International Humanitarian Law accredited by the University Leiden. You can start with the course instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Register now

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.