IHL Clinic

The Forum offers a select number of students the opportunity to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Clinic (IHL Clinic). Students who participate in the IHL Clinic complete the Privatissimum, a 10 ECTS master course which is obligatory for all students in the LL.M. programme Public International Law at Leiden University. In the past, the KGF has also offered IHL Clinic projects for outstanding LL.M. students of the advanced master’s programme in Public International Law..

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


The Law and Practice of IHL 

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. Students are also confronted with ethics and professional responsibility, which is very valuable in enabling students to put abstract notions into a practical context.

Research Projects 

Furthermore, the IHL Clinic at Leiden has been able to organize field trips connected to the projects that the teams have worked on, giving insights into the practical work of the cooperation partners. The IHL Clinic allows students to work (pro bono) on specific projects involving international humanitarian law and to gain valuable practical experience in this area. To date, 20 groups, each composed of three or four students, supervised by at least one Leiden graduate and one Grotius fellow or associated researcher, have completed projects. 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.

Click here to see all our 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)

Current IHL Clinic Projects (winter term 2019/2020)

In Cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

IHL in Action

Digitally Derived Evidence

Societal Impact

The Forum’s IHL Clinic seeks to have societal impact with the research conducted. So far, the KGF IHL Clinic and its three cooperating Clinics have conducted research in a variety of regions as shown in the map below. The Clinics, by producing extensive reports on respect for IHL within a particular conflict, have sought to create societal impact by the conducted research.

 IHL Clinic impact  |  Cooperating IHL Clinics

The IHL Clinic Collaboration (IHLCC)  is an expanding network of IHL Clinics across the globe, and currently includes the IHL Clinics at Leiden University, Roma Tre University, Emory University School of Law, and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

What Others Say about the IHL Clinic  

“The International Humanitarian Law Clinic was the most educative and interesting experience during my bachelor’s degree at the University of Leiden.” – Talitha Ramphal, student PIL LL.M. 2016/17

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

“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

IHL Clinic directors and scholars interested in clinical education of IHL

“We were tremendously impressed by the quality of the report. The students managed to bring themselves up to speed on a complex and difficult legal (and political) issue in a very short period of time.” – Ms. Alix Vuillemin Grendel, Coalition for the International Criminal Court

“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