21 October 2019 18:00 - 24 October 2019 21:00

IHL course for humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers in Geneva – 21-24 October 2019

About the event

Is this training for you?

Are you working with an international or local organization dealing with humanitarian issues on a daily basis? Are you working in a situation of armed conflict and/or regularly confronted to the reality of armed conflicts? Do you have to make decisions that can have a humanitarian impact in the field? And most of all, do you ever wonder what the law really says and what legal tools could help you with your daily tasks?

Then, this international humanitarian law course is definitely for you.

Course description

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), is the set of rules that applies in time of any armed conflict and that seeks to protect those that are not or no longer participating in the hostilities. IHL's rules aim to reduce the sufferings those conflict produce and therefore it restricts the use of some methods of warfare and facilitates humanitarian action for actors and agencies engaged in bringing relief to those in need. Therefore, it is highly desirable that humanitarian practitioners and policy makers are familiar with the basic concepts of IHL and how they work in practice.

Organized by the ICRC, this immersive four-day course in international humanitarian law (IHL) is open to senior humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers who wish to become acquainted with the legal framework applicable to armed conflict. Combining theory and practice, the course follows a methodology involving exercises, simulations and discussions based on the actual challenges that humanitarian workers and policy-makers face today. Led by legal practitioners with knowledge of the field, all sessions will focus primarily on concrete examples rather than on pure theory.

Ahead of the on-site course, participants will follow an online training aimed at familiarizing them with the basic rules and principles of IHL.

The course offers an intensive programme, allowing participants to delve into the fundamental aspects of IHL as well as some contemporary legal and operational challenges. As the programme follows a logical structure, participants are expected to be present throughout the course.

Themes covered in the program include:

• Applicability of IHL and classification of situations of violence
• Conduct of hostilities (focus on specific issues arising in urban warfare)
• Means & methods of warfare
• Categories of people protected under IHL (women, children, wounded, sick & shipwrecked, medical personnel, etc.)
• The interplay between IHL and other legal regimes (human rights law; refugee law)
• Deprivation of liberty under IHL
• Negotiating humanitarian access (the applicable legal framework & the practice of humanitarian negotiations)
• Respect for IHL: national implementation of IHL; criminal repression of IHL violations; dialogue with non-State armed groups

How to participate?

All persons interested should apply via the link below. The deadline for applications is Friday 5th July 2019.


Practical details of the course

Course tuition fees: 500 CHF (Swiss francs)

This sum covers all teaching materials, lunches and breaks throughout the course, the welcoming and closing dinners, as well as some extracurricular activities. Participants are expected to cover the costs of travel and accommodation themselves.


A draft programme will be made available later in the year. For more information, see last year's edition. 

Date & Time

21 October 2019 18:00 - 24 October 2019 21:00

Venue address

ICRC Headquarter, Geneva
17 avenue de la paix, 1202 Geneva