From its conception in 1859 on the battlefield of Solferino to contemporary warfare, modern International Humanitarian Law (IHL) has been confronted with significant challenges. Since the times of horses and bayonets to drones and other ‘Lethal Autonomous Weapons System’ (the so-called “killer robots”), the IHL has always had the purpose of regulating the means and methods of warfare in order to limit human suffering. The development and sophistication of weapons has made it paradoxically problematic to distinguish between civilians and combatants in order to better protect the former. In addition, the proliferation of non-international armed conflicts (civil wars) and the emergence of new forms of armed conflicts, i.e. the “war on terrorism”, pose new challenges to the protection of civilian persons and goods.
The course is aimed to provide participants with an advanced knowledge of IHL and to offer an innovative analysis of the legal uncertainties surrounding new-age military capabilities namely drones and other weaponry systems.
At the end of the course participants will be able to
- Identify the principles and rules, sources and sanctions of International Humanitarian Law.
- Determine the scope of applicability of International Humanitarian Law with regard to the applicability of Human Rights Law and unconventional conflicts such as terrorism.
- Analyze the core principles guiding the means and methods of warfare and assess their efficacy regarding modern weapons namely drones and ‘killer robots’.
- Discuss the fundamental knowledge of protection granted to the victims of war, combatants and civilian persons and goods.
- Critically analyze how International Humanitarian Law overall responds to emerging challenges.