International Humanitarian Law
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Rahvusvaheline sõjaõigus
Course title in English
International Humanitarian Law
ECTS credits
approximate amount of contact lessons
Teaching semester
Assessment form
lecturer of 2019/2020  Autumn semester
õppejõud on määramata
lecturer of 2019/2020  Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
Course aims
¤ To learn about international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict and the sources of the relevant norms;
¤ To provide a thorough overview of the substance of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its 1977 (I and II) and 2005 (III) additional protocols;
¤ To create opportunities to use the knowledge by applying it to actual and hypothetical cases;
¤ To broaden the students’ perspective and enable them to better understand the need for states to employ or refrain from using force in certain circumstances;
¤ To give students an understanding of the basic terminology used in the field of humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict);
¤ To foster the students’ interest in the use of force by states and non-state actors and the possibilities for the legal regulation and limitation of the use of force in the era of globalization.
Brief description of the course
Historical overview of international humanitarian law (IHL). Limitations on the waging of war; the concept and goals of IHL; the essential difference between combatants and civilians; use of the Red Cross symbol; the rights of combatants and civilians; the common articles of the Geneva conventions; 1949 Geneva Convention I (wounded and sick armed forces on the battlefield); 1949 Geneva Convention II (wounded, sick and shipwrecked armed forces at sea); 1949 Geneva Convention III (protection of prisoners of war); 1949 Geneva Convention IV (protections of civilians); additional protocols I, II and III to the Geneva conventions of 1949; non-international armed conflict; IHL and human rights; analysis of cases.
Independent work
The student is required to read the required reading connected with each topic prior to the seminar. The homework assignment is to write for each lecture/seminar hour 3 questions together with 5 possible answers.
Preparation for seminars.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completion of the course, students are expected to have acquired:
¤ knowledge regarding what legal norms are in force even when martial law is n force or during times of war or armed conflict;
¤ knowledge about what substantive protection is provided by the Geneva conventions to the soldier in the battlefield;
¤ knowledge about what substantive protection is provided by the Geneva conventions to prisoners of war;
¤ knowledge about what substantive protection is provided to civilians in territory that is occupied by a foreign power;
¤ knowledge about when a state is legally entitled to use force, including armed force, consistent with the principles of international law;
¤ the capability of understanding and giving evaluations regarding the conduct of states and their combatants when they use force against other states;
¤ the capability of analyzing the legality of actions of combatants and civilians during wartime;
¤ the capability of interpreting the general requirements and specific provisions of the Geneva conventions and applying them to practical situations.
Assessment methods
A written examination (multiple-choice test) after the completion of all lectures/seminars. Completion of homework assignments in a timely manner and attendance/participation are also considered.
K. Jaak Roosaare, Juris Doctor
Study literature
1 ECTS = 160 pages, 4 ECTS=640 pages

Kalshoven, Frits and Liesbeth Zegveld. Constraints on the Waging of War: An Introduction to International Humantarian Law. 3rd edition. Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 2001. 204 pp.

The Geneva Coventions of August 12, 1949 (I-IV). (approx. 168 pp.)
Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 (1977 Additional Protocols I and II and 2005 Additional Protocol III). (approx. 100 pp.)
United Nations Charter: Articles 2 (4), 7, 39-54
Replacement literature
Replacement literature:
Damrosch, Lori F., et al. International Law – Cases and Materials, Fourth Edition. West Group: St. Paul, Minn., USA. (2001). (Chapter 12, pp 920-1087)
Higgins, Rosalyn. Problems & Process – International Law and How We Use It. Clarendon Press: Oxford. (1994) (Chapters 14 and 15, pp 238-266)
North Atlantic Treaty (The NATO Treaty)
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (and additional protocols thereto)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Sassòli, Marco and Antoine A. Bouvier. How Does Law Protect in War? Cases, Documents, and Teaching Materials On Contemporary Practice in International Humanitarian Law. International Committee of the Red Cross: Geneva. (1999)