Law and Policy Events 4 May 2021 09:00 - 30 June 2021 17:30

Advanced IHL Seminar for Academics and Policy-Makers

About the event

What are the key ongoing legal debates around contemporary IHL challenges? Why does that matter for academics and policy-makers? How can professionals from those sectors support each other in addressing ongoing legal and policy challenges?

Organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the Advanced IHL seminar for academics and humanitarian policy-makers aims to enhance the capacity of lecturers and researchers to teach and research international humanitarian law (IHL) and contemporary issues arising during armed conflict, while also equipping policy-makers with an in-depth understanding of ongoing legal debates and their relevance to decision-making.

Due to the current situation, the course takes place entirely online, with several sessions per week during the period May – June 2021.


Profile of candidates

The seminar is addressed to both academics and policy-makers. It is therefore open to lecturers, researchers, legal and policy advisers in governmental agencies, representatives from the judicial sector and donor agencies representatives. Key selection criteria will include:

  • Current involvement in the practice or teaching of IHL or in decision-making in relation to situations of armed conflict;
  • A strong motivation to improve the application and implementation of IHL on the ground;
  • Holding a teaching/research position at a university or an academic institute (academic applicants);
  • Very good knowledge of IHL and related fields of international law (academic applicants);
  • Number of years of experience/ level of responsibility as State or donor agencies representatives, or policy-maker (preference will be given to participants with 7+ years of relevant experience).

As the seminar will be held in English, proficiency in this language is recommended.


Learning Outcomes

After the seminar, participants should be able to:

  • Analyze real-life scenarios to draw legally-sound conclusions on the applicability of, application of and respect for IHL
  • Engage on key contemporary legal issues related to situations of armed conflict, in various professional scenarios (e.g. internal discussions; policy-making; communication)
  • Take into consideration the applicable rules of IHL, in particular those protecting persons affected by armed conflict, in decision-making processes
  • Draw a picture of advanced IHL issues, dilemmas, and existing research projects
  • Teach IHL based on contemporary practice, including through digital technology, tools and media
  • Research IHL issues based on peer-consolidated methodology
  • Identify relevant sources to access the ICRC's positions and the Geneva Academy's initiatives in the field of IHL and humanitarian policy
  • Connect with a wider international and multi-disciplinary network of academics and policy-makers



The seminar will address specific issues related to the application of IHL in current armed conflicts, but also related to IHL teaching and research in general. To get a better sense of topics addressed in the past, interested candidates are welcome to watch videos and listen to podcasts. Please note that, as this year's edition will be fully online, the format of the sessions may differ from previous years.

In addition, as this seminar will bring together audiences drawn for academia and from policy-making, the methodology will also be adapted in order to respond to the specific needs of each target group. The seminar's methodology is actually enhanced through the focus placed on peer-to-peer interactions and knowledge sharing. Lecturers and other academic participants will be able to bring a wide perspective in existing debates regarding key thematic issues presented during the course, while participants with a policy-making position will be able to share their hands-on experience and concrete questions regarding the applicability, application of and respect for IHL in contemporary armed conflicts.


Format and expected workload

Due to the current situation, the seminar takes place entirely online, with several sessions per week throughout the period May – June 2021. In general, time to dedicate to the seminar should not exceed 3 hours per week in May (preliminary sessions) and 5 hours and a half per week in June (advanced sessions). This estimate includes both preparatory work and live sessions.

In May,

  • Policy-makers: preparatory work will consist of 9 e-learning modules, 5 videos and some suggested readings, along with two live Q&A sessions of 60 minutes. Time to dedicate to the Seminar in May for policy-makers should not exceed 3 hours per week; this includes the live sessions and the preparatory work.
  • Academics: two workshops of 90 minutes on teaching and research methodology will be organized (180 minutes should be foreseen for preparatory readings). Time to dedicate to the seminar in May for academics should not exceed 3 hours per week; this includes the live sessions and the preparatory work.

In June, 8 live sessions of 90 minutes will focus on advanced IHL substance and related issues. They will be addressed to both policy-makers and academics. Time to dedicate to the Seminar in June should not exceed 5 hours and a half per week; this includes the live sessions and the preparatory work. Optional side-events, such as panel discussions, will be proposed.

Sessions will be led by leading academics, including ICRC legal advisers and Geneva Academy experts. Side events, such as online panel discussions, will also provide participants with opportunities for further discussions with experts. Participants will be invited to keep in touch for further academic exchanges through a dedicated online portal.


Application process and deadline

The application process is now open and will close on 31 March 2021.

Candidates should fill out the application form by 31 March 2021.

Please note that there are no associated costs to this course.

To ensure good quality and interactivity during our online discussions, this course is limited to 40 participants.

The results of the selection process will be communicated to all candidates in early April.

For any questions or queries, please send your email to:




Date & Time

4 May 2021 09:00 - 30 June 2021 17:30

Venue address

Due to the current situation, the course takes place entirely online, with several sessions per week during the period May – June 2021.