The Forum seeks to foster public debate on issues of international humanitarian law by organizing regularly panel discussions and lectures on current problems and issues in this area.

Public Events 

As from 2011, the Forum hosted the following public events:

38. On Monday, 2 July 2018, four LL.M. students of one of our IHL Clinic teams, along with their supervisor, travelled to Berlin for the purpose of presenting their research and report on a particular project to a KGF cooperation partner – the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). The team had diligently collaborated over several months to carry out this research in the fields of IHL and international criminal law. The team consists of LL.M. students Ms. Joyce Man, Ms. Monika Tobjasz, Ms. Frauke Maas and Ms. Caitlin Fitzgerald. The supervision of the project was undertaken by KGF Guest Researcher Ms. Kaetlin Gale LL.M. and Dr. Joseph Powderly. The IHL Clinic is directed by Dr. Robert Heinsch.

37. On 26 June 2018, as part of a monthly working session organised by The Spindle and Humanity X (Centre for Innovation, Leiden University), one of our IHL Clinic teams presented their report ‘Towards a Responsible Approach to Data’. The team discussed their findings and how the report they prepared for cooperation partner OAM Consult could serve as a platform for organisations to better understand what a responsible approach to data entails. The team consists of LL.M. students Marta Albaladejo Carreño, Emily Wood, Charlotte Vercraeye, and Aude Jolliet. The supervision of the report was undertaken by KGF guest researcher Mr. Nicholas Ortiz, LL.M. and Dr. Emma Irving. The IHL Clinic is directed by Dr. Robert Heinsch.

36. On Tuesday, 24 April 2018, Dr. Emma Irving presented her research on “Human Rights Fact Finding in the Digital Age: Beyond ‘Opportunities and Challenges’” during a successful Grotius Dialogue. The research focuses on the intersection between technology and international accountability. One strand of this research examines how the increased use of digital tools in human rights fact finding and international criminal justice will lead to a greater privatisation of evidence, which will produce difficult legal challenges. Another strand of the research looks at how data protection regimes will affect the work of fact finding and criminal justice actors. At the time of this event, a team from the Leiden IHL Clinic is also conducting research on human rights fact-finding and technology, under the supervision of Dr. Irving.

35. On Saturday 10 February 2018, KGF Director Dr. Robert Heinsch gave a lecture on contemporary challenges in the field of International Humanitarian Law during the anniversary of the Prof. mr B.M. Telders International Law Society (‘Volkenrechtelijk Dispuut Prof. mr B.M. Telders’). A fitting subject, as the Telders Society commemorated its former honorary chair Professor Frits Kalshoven, who passed away last year.

34. On Wednesday, 7 February, Ms. Sofia Poulopoulou (LL.M.), PhD fellow at the Forum, opened the annual Symposium on International Humanitarian Law of the Netherlands Red Cross Student’s Desk Leiden. Sofia gave a very interesting introduction to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and spoke on the origins of this field of law, its most important principles, and the applicability of IHL to certain situations.

33. On 16 January 2018, Prof. Liesbeth Zegveld, Judge Christopher Greenwood and KGF Director Dr. Robert Heinsch honoured and commemorated the life of the remarkable Professor Frits Kalshoven and his contributions to international humanitarian law. The tribute was organised by the T.M.C. Asser Institute’s International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform, The Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict (HILAC) and the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law. A short report of the lecture can be found here.

32. From 9 to 15 November 2017, the 3rd annual IHL Clinic Exchange Conference, took place at Emory Law School in Atlanta. 13 students and faculty staff from the Leiden IHL Clinic participated, together with colleagues from the IHL Clinics at IDC Herzliya and Emory Law School. Students visited the US Holocaust Museum, heard presentations by colleagues from the military and the ICRC, and spent almost a whole day at the US Pentagon. They also visited the National War College in Washington, D.C., where they participated in a War Game with military officers and legal advisors. It was an excellent opportunity to apply IHL to real-life scenarios and get an insight into the work of legal advisors.

31. On Saturday 4 November 2017, the Netherlands Red Cross and the KGF co-hosted a lecture on ‘War in Cities: Legal Framework, Problems & Challenges’. Ms. Joelle Germanier, Outreach Advisor at the Law & Policy Forum of the ICRC in Geneva, reflected on the challenges posed by war in cities from a humanitarian perspective, and the legal framework that applies to belligerents in such specific situations. Mr. Eric Feijten, freelance journalist working in conflict zones, spoke on how the position and role of the press has changed in more recent armed conflicts. Finally, Mr. Niels Roelen, writer and major in the Dutch armed forces, discussed how conducting war in cities influences decision-making on a military level and personal experiences

30. From 19 to 20 October 2017, KGF staff members Sofia Poulopoulou, André Nwadikwa, Janine Ensing and Arjen Vermeer, as well as former KGF staff member Abdullahi Abdulrahman Abdalla, and former Leiden IHL Clinic students Marin van Hove and Ashwin Kumaar, took part in the 18th annual ICRC Colloquium on International Humanitarian Law in Bruges, Belgium, discussing “The Additional Protocols at 40: Achievements and Challenges”.

29. On, 28 September 2017, the KGF hosted, together with Médecins sans Frontières Holland (MSF Holland), Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs a panel discussion on violence against medical personnel and facilities in conflict situations. Many interesting speakers contributed to the discussion, including: Prof. Mattijs Numans MD, Prof. Barend Middelkoop MD, Katrien Coppens, Jelte van Wieren MA and Dr. Robert Heinsch from the Forum. During the event, Dr. Heinsch addressed: “How are medical facilities and staff protected under international humanitarian law, and the potential value of resolution 2286”. For an overview of the discussion, see here.

28. On 27 September 2017, KGF director Dr. Robert Heinsch took part in a panel discussion on “IHL in Action: Changing the narrative on IHL” at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva. in the context of the 12th Advanced Seminar in IHL for University Lecturers and Researchers of the ICRC and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Dr. Heinsch presented the 18-months IHL clinic project on “positive examples for the respect of IHL” which the Leiden IHL Clinic conducted together with their counterparts at Emory Law School (US), IDC Herzliya (IS), and Roma Tre University (IT). The results of this projects can be accessed at the newly launched website on “IHL in Action: Respect on the Law of the Battlefield” which shows 27 case studies of compliances with IHL.

27. On Tuesday, 26 September 2017, our KGF Director Dr. Robert Heinsch, together with the Directors of our cooperating IHL Clinics, Laurie Blank (Emory School of Law), Yael Vias Gvirsman (IDC Herzliya) and Giulio Bartolini (Roma Tre University), presented the work of the IHL Clinics in the framework of the 12th Advanced Seminar in IHL for University Lecturers and Researchers organized by the ICRC and the Geneva Academy. The Directors shared with the participants their experience of setting up and running the respective IHL Clinics, common elements and challenges as well as lessons learned. The presentation was followed by an interactive discussion of the value of the Clinics as IHL teaching tools.

26. On 15 and 16 September 2017, the KGF hosted its first IHL Clinic Alumni event. Over the course of one evening and one morning, both Clinic alumni and supervisors shared their experiences following their participation in the Clinic and exchanged tips and tricks on career paths in the field of international humanitarian law. It was a great success and a tradition in the making!

25. On Friday 15 September 2017, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law successfully opened the Regular and Advanced Public International Law LL.M. programmes with a lecture on the prosecution of war crimes and terrorism in the Netherlands. The lecture and discussion were preceded by a tribute to Prof. em. Frits Kalshoven, who passed away at the beginning of September. Mr. Rogier Bartels, Mr. Jeroen van den Boogaard and the KGF’s Director Dr. Robert Heinsch shared some memories and spoke about Professor Kalshoven’s life and career. Afterwards, Advocate-General Simon Minks (The Hague Court of Appeals) and criminal lawyer Michiel Pestman (Prakken d’ Oliveira Amsterdam) presented some of their experiences in the field of international cases involving international crimes and terrorism and had a short discussion.

24. On 8 June 2017, the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law, in cooperation with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Netherlands Red Cross, hosted a panel discussion in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1977 Additional Protocols. Ms. Mirjam de Bruin (the Netherlands Red Cross) and Dr. Robert Heinsch (Leiden University) provided a short introduction on the history and relevance of the Additional Protocols. The panelists included: Prof. Horst Fischer (Leiden University, humanitarian and academic perspective), Dr. Hans Boddens Hosang (military and operational perspective), Ms. Mireille Hector (state perspective, NL Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and Judge Alphons Orie (ICTY, judicial perspective). Following the presentations, the panel had a short discussion on several topics including universal jurisdiction, impunity and the need for increased attention for compliance and enforcement of IHL.

23. On 26-28 January 2017, five of our IHL Clinic students of the winter semester 2016/17 (Ms. Clara Burkard, Mr. David Koeller, Mr. Ashwin Manoharan, Ms. Yildiz Miller and Ms. Cristina San Juan Serrano) and their IHL Clinic supervisors (Ms. Christine Tremblay, LL.M. and Ms. Sofia Poulopoulou, LL.M.) participated in a research visit to the International Committee of the Red Cross​ (ICRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The students and their supervisors were offered the opportunity to participate in various interactive sessions on specific topics of IHL, to interact directly with the ICRC staff, and discuss the status of their project as part of an ongoing cooperation between the Forum and the ICRC. Moreover, the students and their supervisors had the chance to visit the library, archives and museum of the ICRC and get an invaluable insight into its work and mandate.

22. On 27 October 2016, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on IHL hosted the Common Fall Lecture of the Regular and Advanced PIL LL.M.  Programs and the Opening Lecture of the 2016/2017 IHL Lecture Series: “IHL and Humanitarian Assistance in Contemporary Armed Conflicts against the Background of the Current Refugee Crisis”. The lecture was given by the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, and special guest speaker, Mr. Christos Stylianides.

21. On 18 October 2016, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch participated in an expert workshop on “Litigating Drone Attacks”, hosted by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin. The event addressed the impact of drone wars on law, warfare and society. On the first day of the workshop, Dr. Heinsch gave a presentation on “Difficulties in prosecuting drone-strikes under international humanitarian and international criminal law”.

20. On 4 October 2016, Roma Tre Law School launched their newly established IHL Clinic, directed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Giulio Bartolini. For this occasion, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch and Ms. Sofia Poulopoulou, LL.M. of the Forum, were invited to Rome to give the inaugural lecture at the start of the University’s IHL Course / Clinic. The IHL Clinic at Roma Tre will be part of an ongoing international cooperation together with Emory Law School, Radzyner Law School, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

19. On 3 October 2016, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch was invited to give a presentation to the Legal Advisors of the Italian Armed Forces at the “Centro Alti Studi per la Difesa” in Rome. During this visit, he presented an overview of the current version of the ILA study group report on “The Conduct of Hostilities under IHL – Challenges of 21st Century Warfare”.

18. On 7-11 August 2016, Dr. Robert Heinsch and Prof. Robin Geiss attended the 77th ILA conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the conference, they presented the final report of their study group on “Conduct of Hostilities under IHL – Challenges of 21st Century Warfare”. This concludes a 4-year process of
research and discussion within a group 25 IHL experts from around the world. The report will be published later in the year.

17. On 30 March 2016, the Forum hosted a panel discussion on the topic of “The Dynamics of the Syria Conflict: Challenges for Contemporary International Law”. Panelists included Prof. Niels Blokker (Introductory speech), Prof. Nico Schrijver (The UN perspective on the conflict in Syria), Prof. Peter Rodrigues (Refugee law in relation to the humanitarian tragedy in Syria), Dr. Giulio Bartolini (Selected issues of international humanitarian law in the context of the conflict in Syria), and Dr. Robert Heinsch (Syria and international criminal law: what are the possibilities?).

16. On 16-20 November 2015, four members of the spring-semester International Humanitarian Law Clinic of the Forum (Claerwen O’Hara, Lucy Turner, Anne Plouy and Louis Léonet) attended the “RIPE71 Conference on Internet-related Issues” in Bucharest, Romania as a result of the report they submitted to the Netherlands red Cross.

15. On 15-20 November, Dr. Heinsch and Prof. Laurie Blank from Emory Law School (Atlanta, USA) and Adv. Yael Vias Gvirsman (Herzliya, Israel) organized a five-day international IHL clinic exchange conference in Tel Aviv.

14. On 6-7 November 2015, four members of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic of the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum participated in the 4th Annual Alumni Meeting of the ECCHR. The representatives of the clinic got an insight into the human rights work of this NGO and exchanged ideas and experiences with other international lawyers from all around the world.

13. On 18-20 October 2015, the ILA Study Group on Conduct in Hostilities organized a meeting on “Conduct of hostilities and Modern Warfare” at the University of Oslo. It brought together 20 international experts from around the world to further deepen the analysis of the current regime of international humanitarian law.

12. On 25-26 June 2015, the Forum and the Fundación Internacional Baltasar Garzón (FIBGAR) hosted an expert workshop on “Universal Jurisdiction Guidelines”, to discuss a new set of guidelines for the or the important area of “Universal Jurisdiction”. The two-day expert workshop in The Hague brought together 12 European experts on Universal Jurisdiction who discussed how the existing principles on Universal Jurisdiction could be amended to better protect the victims of these atrocity crimes and to enable faster and more efficient prosecution on a national level.

11. On 19 May 2015, the Forum hosted a panel discussion on the work of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People with Ambassador Zahir Tanin (Vice-Chair of the CEIRPP), Ambassador Riyad Mansour (Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN), and Dr. Victor Kattan (National University of Singapore).

10. On 17 December 2014, the Forum hosted with the T.M.C. Asser Institute a book launch and panel discussion on “Nuclear Weapons under International Law” with Dr. Nobuo Hayashi from ILPI (Oslo), Dr. Erik Koppe (Leiden), Dr. Daniel Rezene Mekonnen (Oslo), as well as Dr. Dieter Fleck (Formerly Ministry of Defence, Germany), discussing recent new developments in the area of limiting the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

9. On 25 November 2014, the Forum together with the T.M.C. Asser Institute hosted a panel discussion on “Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judical Bodies” with Judge Christopher Greenwood from the International Court of Justice, Judge Silvia Fernandez from the International Criminal Court, Professor Cedric Ryngaert from Utrecht University, as well as one of the editors of the book, Mr. Solon Solomon from King’s College London.

8. On 14-15 November 2014, the ILA Study Group on Conduct in Hostilities organized a workshop on modern warfare at Free University Berlin.

7. On 8 May 2014, the Forum and the ECCHR hosted a panel discussion on communication to the ICC with reference to possible war crimes committed in Iraq with several human rights lawyers and academics.

6. On 22-23 November 2013, the Forum and the Grotius Centre (in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam and the University of Glasgow) hosted the expert meeting of the ILA Study Group on “The Conduct of Hostilities and International Humanitarian Law – Challenges of 21st Century Warfare”. The ILA Study Group on Conduct in Hostilities was initiated by Dr. Heinsch.

5. On 30 May 2013, the Forum and the the Volkenrechtelijk Dispuut “Prof. mr B. M. Telders” hosted a panel discussion on cyberwarfare and international law with Prof. Gill and Colonel Dr. Ducheine.

4. On 20 November 2012, the Forum and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) hosted a panel discussion on a communication from the ECCHR to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding violence against trade unionists in Colombia.

3. On 8 November 2012, the Forum and the Volkenrechtelijk Dispuut “Prof. mr. B.M. Telders” hosted a panel discussion on the protection of civilians in the Syria conflict with Prof. Schrijver, Prof. Saxon, Prof. Zegveld and Dr. Heinsch.

2. On 29 March 2012, the Forum hosted a panel discussion on Palestinian Statehood with Prof. Dugard, Valentina Azarov and Michael Kearny.

1. On 22 September 2011, the Forum hosted the book launch of Prof. Kalshoven and Prof. Zegveld’s 4th edition of their standard textbook on international humanitarian law “Constraints on the Waging of War”, with an ensuing panel discussion on “Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts and International Law” which included Judge Alphonsus Orie as a special guest, and Prof. Kalshoven, Prof. Zegveld, and Prof. Fischer as panelists.

IHL Clinic Exchange Conference 2017

IHL Clinic Exchange Conference 2017

Launch IHL in Action Platform

Presentation Dr. Irving


Presentation Sofia at Symposium IHL NL Red Cross


18th annual ICRC Colloquium


Clinic Presentation ECCHR


Clinic Presentation Humanity X


Opening Lecture 17/18


Panel Discussion on 40 Years of Additional Protocols

Mr. Christos Stylianides Delivers Speech


Panel Discussion on The Dynamics of the Syria Conflict


IHL Clinic Exchange Conference in Israel


Presentation at 77th ILA Conference in Johannesburg


Opening Lecture of the 2016/17 IHL Lecture Series


New Cooperation with Roma Tre IHL Clinic


IHL Clinic Exchange Conference in Israel


RIPE71 Conference on Internet-related Issues


Opening Lecture of the 2016/17 IHL Lecture Series

IHL Clinic visit to the ICRC