IHL in Action

Respect for the Law on the Battlefield

Since 2016, the Forum’s IHL Clinic contributes to the ‘IHL in Action: Respect for the Law on the Battlefield’ project undertaken in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Forum’s partner IHL Clinics at Emory University School of Law, the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and Roma Tre University. In contrast to the more common approach to explore IHL through examining violations of the law, the project aims to collect real-life case-studies documenting compliance with IHL in modern armed conflict. The case-studies are compiled in the “IHL in action: Respect for the Law on the Battlefield” database hosted by the ICRC with a view to encourage the reporting, collection and promotion of instances of respect for IH, and aiming at changing the narrative about IHL as such.

Case-studies prepared by the IHL Clinics are uploaded to the database after a comprehensive peer-review process by the IHL Clinic supervisors and the ICRC. The ‘success-stories’ documenting positive application of IHL are integrated in the ICRC’s prevention activities, including in courses, conferences, dissemination etc. The cases shall not be construed as reflecting the views of the ICRC.

Objectives of the research project

  • Collect real-life practices where rules of IHL were respected and implemented;
  • Counter arguments about the erosion of IHL by providing real life situations of respect for the law;
  • Initiate an informed discussion of the applicable legal framework and its precise obligations;
  • Results to be integrated in ICRC’s dissemination and prevention activities.


What Others Say about the IHL in Action project

“Being part of the clinic was an experience of a lifetime. Working with intelligent, thoughtful supervisors who pushed us to our limits but never failed to encourage us only motivated us further. Thank you to the wonderful team of teachers and students alike who made this so worthwhile.” – IHL in Action project participant, winter semester 2018/19

IHL in Action participants during a research visit at the ICRC in Geneva

“IHL Clinic is not just learning about IHL, it is a forum for young people to come together and share their concerns and hopes on how we will make this world a better place.”– IHL in Action project participant, winter semester 2018/19

“The IHL Clinic was definitely the highlight of my LLM experience here at Leiden. I chose to come to Leiden precisely because of the Clinic and am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to be part of a wonderful team of dedicated, like-minded and hard-working colleagues.”  IHL in Action project participant, winter semester 2018/19