16 February - 23 March 2018
Application start 23 August 2017
Application end 9 February 2018
Fee: 1150 Swiss Francs


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International Refugee Law

Lifejackets on a beach in Greece Lifejackets on a beach in Greece


Who is a refugee? What is the legal framework currently applicable to those fleeing states affected by armed conflicts like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan? What are the related obligations of European states? This course analyses the main international and regional legal norms governing refugee protection. It examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law. It also analyzes the definition of a refugee under both the 1951 Geneva Convention and the Common European Asylum System, the principle of non-refoulement as well as asylum procedures. Particular attention is dedicated to the case law of State Parties to the 1951 Geneva Convention.


This course forms part of the Geneva Academy Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict. It is open to professionals – diplomats, lawyers, legal advisers, judges, NGO staff, human rights advocates, media specialists, professionals working in emergency situations, UN staff and staff from other international organizations – who are not enrolled in the Executive Master and who want to deepen their expertise in this specific issue.


Courses take place on:

  • Friday 16 February 15:30-18:00
  • Friday 23 February 15:30-18:00
  • Friday 9 March 15:30-18:00
  • Friday 16 March 15:30-18:00
  • Friday 23 March 15:30-18:00


Participants obtain a certificate at the end of the course (no ECTS credits are gained).

How to Apply

Applications for this short course must be submitted via the online form. If you encounter problems with your application, do not hesitate to contact us.

Your application will need to include:

  • A short motivation letter (no more than one page)
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your competence in English (a certificate or statement highlighting your solid background in English)
  • A valid copy of your visa or residence permit (only applicants who require a visa to enter the Schengen area)

Once admitted to the course, participants receive instructions on how to pay. Proof of payment is required before you begin the course.

Professor and Lecturer

Picture of Vincent Chetail

Vincent Chetail

Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Vincent Chetail's areas of research relate to refugee and migrant law, humanitarian law and human rights, international criminal law, collective security and peacekeeping.


Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva


Public Transport

Tram 15, Direction Nations - tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, Direction Jardin Botanique - bus stop Sécheron

Access for people with disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email


Students during an event at the Geneva Academy News

Applications for our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict are Open!

5 March 2018

Our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict (60 ECTS, equivalent to a LLM) is one of the few part-time, innovative and intellectually challenging programmes in international law in armed conflict offered today.

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Villa Moynier, Headquarters of the Geneva Academy News

Ten Years, Ten Milestones!

13 November 2017

This year, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary – a perfect time to take a look in the rearview mirror at the milestones we have passed. While there are many achievements we could highlight, we have selected our top ten to match our age!

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This course examines one of the main purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL), which is to mitigate human suffering caused by war. It enables a careful evaluation of the various IHL rules intended to help protect vulnerable persons, such as civilians and prisoners of war, as well as property during armed conflict.

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Started in January 2017

This project aims at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSA). It has a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSA, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSA, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.

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doption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the UN General Assembly, 2 April 2013 Project

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Completed in January 2013

The Geneva Academy team followed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations and provided key information on the negotiations, notably via a daily blog.

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How We Work

Our teaching enables specialists to apply legal frameworks to complex situations and challenging processes.

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Executive Education

We provide training and short courses for professionals who want to deepen their expertise in a specific issue.

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Our research examines issues that are under-explored, need clarification, or are unconventional, experimental or challenging.

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Our events provide a critical and scholarly forum for experts and practitioners to debate topical humanitarian, human rights and transitional justice issues.

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