1.   First lesson

A protective regime and its contemporary relevance illustrated by means of a given conflict 
Either: –   Protection of civilians, of protected civilians and of protected civilians in occupied territories
or:      –   Prisoners of war and fighters captured in a non-international armed conflict
or:      –   Protection of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked and use of the emblem
or:      –   Refugees and displaced persons
or:      –   Common Art. 3 in a conflict where the structures of authority have collapsed

2.   Second lesson

The laws of war in contemporary international law and in the contemporary international community

  • Nature and existence of international law
  • Jus ad bellum and jus in bello under the UN Charter
  • The complementary character of IHL and International Human Rights Law

3.   Third lesson

Historical development and sources

  • Concept and philosophy
  • Historical development and sources of contemporary IHL
  • Contemporary efforts to develop IHL and future direction
  • Obtaining a ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines: methods, ICRC role, public opinion, military and economic interests

4.   Fourth lesson

The distinction between civilians and combatants – a necessary prerequisite for respect for IHL that is impossible to meet in contemporary armed conflicts?

5.   Fifth lesson

Conduct of hostilities

  • The protection of the civilian population against effects of hostilities
  • Means and methods of warfare
  • Humanitarian assistance

6.   Sixth lesson

Different types of armed conflicts

  • The concept of armed conflict
  • The distinction between international and non-international armed conflicts: reasons, relativity and comparison of the two regimes
  • Contemporary problems of qualification
  • Practical consequences of problems of qualification

7.   Seventh lesson

Implementation of IHL – the law

  • The need for national measures of implementation in peacetime
  • The example of the (need for) national legislation on the protection of the emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red crystal in the country where the course is being held
  • The obligation to ensure respect
  • Reaction to violations by States
  • The concept of war crimes and the universal obligation to repress them

8.   Eighth lesson

Implementation of IHL – the players

  • Preventive measures, monitoring and control by the ICRC: possibilities and limits inherent in the ICRC’s status and approach
  • Humanitarian intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the ICRC: coordination and competition
  • The role of the UN Security Council: conflict resolution and humanitarian action
  • The prosecution of war crimes by national courts, ad hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court