IHL Clinic

The Forum offers a select number of students of Leiden University’s LL.M. programmes in Public International Law the opportunity to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Clinic (IHL Clinic), for whom the participation in the IHL Clinic substitutes ECTS of their respective study programme.

The IHL Clinic allows students to work (pro bono) on specific projects involving issues of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law and to gain valuable practical experience in this area. The projects are selected by the Forum in cooperation with its cooperation partners.


Selection of past partnerships of the Leiden IHL Clinic:

Learning Objectives 

The IHL Clinic enables students to learn through experience by applying legal theory to real-world situations. It also allows students to acquire and develop skills in legal research, critical thinking, legal analysis, and problem solving. Additionally, students improve their proficiency in drafting, writing, oral presentation, communication, organization and interpersonal skills. The IHL Clinic offers opportunities for students to develop, enhance and refine their professional skillset and thereby strengthen their position on a competitive job market upon graduation. Students are confronted with ethics and professional responsibility, which is very valuable in enabling students to put abstract notions into a practical context, and receive targeted skills sessions and have the opportunity to interact with partner organizations working in the humanitarian field.

Research Projects 

IHL Clinic research projects result in tangible outcomes with societal impact. Cooperating partners who work in practice receive high-quality and in-depth pro bono research to utilise in their further (humanitarian) work. The Leiden IHL Clinic has directly informed practical initiatives to ensure and enhance respect for the law, and to provide access to justice for victims of international crimes.

Furthermore, the IHL Clinic at Leiden Leiden University has been able to organize field trips connected to the projects that the teams have worked on, providing insights into the practical work of the cooperation partners.

Projects run over the course of four months, starting twice per year (October – January & March – June). Meetings take place on a regular basis, at least once every two weeks on a fixed day and time agreed on by the team, and the workload is equivalent to 5 or 10 ECTS, dependent on the students’ study programme.

Click here to see past IHL Clinic reports

The reports which have been concluded so far by the IHL Clinic include:

Handover report at Amnesty International

  1. Report on Legality of Nuclear Weapons
  2. Report on Legal Framework of Humanitarian Assistance
  3. Implementation of Changes to a National Military Manual
  4. Preparatory Works for a Commentary Chapter on the Geneva Conventions
  5. Report on Legality of Drones
  6. Report on Legality of Possible Acts of Pillage
  7. Report on Arms Supplies as International Crimes
  8. Report on Business and Human Rights in Occupied Territory
  9. Report on Possible IHL Violations from Both Sides in a Recent Conflict Situation
  10. Report on Cyber Warfare and International Humanitarian Law
  11.  Report on the Legality of Lethal Autonomous Weapons under International Law
  12. Report on Possible Crimes under the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court Committed in a Recent Conflict Situation
  13. Report on Specific Questions Concerning Article 8 of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court
  14. Report on the Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  15. Report on the Respect for International Humanitarian Law (part 1)
  16. Report on the Relationship between Jus ad Bellum and Jus in Bello
  17. Report on Witness Protection before the International Criminal Court
  18. Report on the Effectiveness of Human Rights Monitoring: the Need for a Strengthened Human Rights Component in UN Peacekeeping Missions
  19. Report on the Admissibility and Jurisdiction of an International Criminal Court in relation to a Recent Conflict Situation
  20. Report on the Respect for International Humanitarian Law (part 2)
  21. Report on the Liability of Corporations and its Employees for the Involvement in Possible Violations of International Humanitarian Law in a Recent Conflict Situation
  22. International Humanitarian Law and Terrorism: Identifying the Blurring of the Lines Between IHL and Law Enforcement
  23. Report on the Respect for International Humanitarian Law (part 3)
  24. Report on Occupation in a Recent Conflict Situation
  25. Report on International Criminal Responsibility for Weapons Deliveries to Commit War Crimes
  26. Report on the Authority of Non-State Actors to Detain Person Inside and Outside of Armed Conflict
  27. Report on Respect for International Humanitarian Law (part 4)
  28. Report on Classification of an Armed Conflict in a Recent Conflict Situation
  29. Report on the Possible International Legal Personality of Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations
  30. Report on a Responsible Approach to Data (click to read)
  31. Report on Issues of International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law in a Recent Conflict Situation
  32. Report on Digitally Derived Evidence I
  33. Report on Strategic Litigation I
  34. Report on Digitally Derived Evidence II
  35. Amicus curiae brief on the Situation in the State of Palestine to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (click here to read)
  36. Amicus curiae brief for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, Bogota Colombia (click here to read)

Please note that this list is non-exhaustive.

What Others Say about the IHL Clinic  

IHL Clinic students present their research at the IHL Clinic Exchange Conference 2018 in Rome

“I believe that the participation in the IHL Clinic significantly distinguishes my experience of the LL.M. programme from other students’ (who have not participated in the Clinic), and I am really grateful for being granted the opportunity to contribute to the practically-oriented work of the Clinic.” – Student PIL LL.M. 2018/19

“The cooperation with the Clinic has been excellent and the documents prepared by the students of highest quality. The Clinic projects, professionalism and cooperation is highly appreciated as part of the ECCHR’s Education Program.” – Mr. Andreas Schüller, ECCHR

“Particularly inspiring was working with people that have considerable field experience combined with sharp legal minds.” – David Koeller, IHL Clinic participant winter semester 2016/17