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Post Graduation in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Conflict Situations

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The proliferation of armed conflicts has put the application of humanitarian law and human rights regimes to the test. The practical application of jus ad bellum all too often shows the limitations of the United Nations system as regards political control of the use of force by the Security Council. But it is the present limits of jus in bello that pose greater difficulties.

Increasingly frequent 'classic' violations of humanitarian law are accompanied by the inadequacies of the international legal framework in monitoring the new technological realities, whether it be cyber aggression or the use of drones to eliminate people and destroy property or the emergence of killer robots as lethal autonomous weapons. In contrast to this situation, several States have given themselves universal criminal jurisdiction to try violations of humanitarian law at the same time as the International Criminal Court has developed an ambitious case law with regard to the various types of criminal law that make up the Rome Statute.

The Post Graduation in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Conflict situations is taught in partnership between the European Institute of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, the National Defence Institute and the ICJP - Institute of Legal and Political Sciences.​

This course aims to fill a training gap for jurists, diplomats, technicians from Non-Governmental Organizations, military and police forces who participate in international missions in zones of armed conflict. Journalists, civil protection technicians, and members of relief teams accompanying situations of armed conflict will also be able to benefit from the training provided by the Course.​​​​

The various modules of the course run through the classic elements relating to:

  • United Nations Charter system on the use of force (definition of aggression, self-defence, action under Chapter VII of the Charter,…);

  • State of the art in matters of international humanitarian law (regime of the Geneva Conventions: international conflicts, protected persons and property, regular and irregular combatants);

  • The mechanisms for applying disciplinary and criminal sanctions for violations of humanitarian law (competence of the Portuguese courts and the International Criminal Court, criminal and disciplinary relevant types);

  • International legal regimes for certain weapons (mines, cluster munitions, drones, robots);

  • The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights concerning armed conflicts.

The Course includes three round tables that will allow sharing the experience of various operators in missions where humanitarian law played a key role: Kosovo, combating piracy and operations in the Mediterranean to mitigate the effects of the refugee crisis.

The course ends with a simulation of a situation of armed conflict involving the violation of international humanitarian law norms, with the resolution of a practical case (by groups of 10 students accompanied by professors from the Faculty of Law of Lisbon, with a distribution of papers and the obligation to reach a negotiated or "judicial" solution).