4 May - 30 June 2021
Application start 1 March 2021
Application end 31 March 2021

Advanced IHL Seminar for Academics and Policy Makers

Yemen, Saada. A group of children play football against a backdrop of destroyed houses. The northern governorate has witnessed several episodes of violence since 2006 that left behind immense destruction. Yemen, Saada. A group of children play football against a backdrop of destroyed houses. The northern governorate has witnessed several episodes of violence since 2006 that left behind immense destruction.

About the Advanced Seminar

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, 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 of 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 from 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.

Cost and Expenses


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 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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professors and Lecturers


Online course


Participants will be informed about modalities to follow this course online.


Libya, destroyed houses News

Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law: Contributions by our Professors and Experts

12 May 2020

Six out of the 18 chapters of the new Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law – edited by Ben Saul and Dapo Akande – have been written or co-written by Geneva Academy’s professors or experts.

Read more

M-13 combatttants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo News

New Publication Explores State Responsibility for Human Rights Violations Committed by Armed Non-State Actors in its Territory

25 February 2019

Part of our multi-year project that focuses on human rights responsibilities and armed non-state actors (ANSAs), our new publication explores the particular aspects of state responsibility for human rights violations committed by ANSAs in its territory.

Read more

View of Villa Moynier Event

Open House: Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict

16 June 2021, 12:30-13:30

Join us for our open house to learn more about this part-time programme designed professionals, meet staff, students and alumni, and discuss career opportunities.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

Spring 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

Syria, destroyed building and ambulance Short Course

Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law

Fall 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides an introduction to the key principles and terminology of IHL.

Read more

Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.

Read more

A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson Project

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Read more