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Postgraduate Course on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Conflict Situations
Open applications

July 30, 2018
30 july 2018

This course is a partnership between the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon (FDUL) and the National Defense Institute (IDN) and will take place between September 24, 2018 and February 25, 2019 according to the attached program , in the IDN in Lisbon and in the IDN delegation in Porto (by videoconference) and, if there are enough students in Coimbra (place to be designated).

The proliferation of armed conflicts has tested the application of humanitarian law and human rights regimes. The practical application of jus ad bellum too often, shows the limitations of the United Nations system with regard to the political control of the use of force by the Security Council. But it is the current limits of jus in bello that raise the greatest difficulties. The "classic" violations, each time more frequent, of the humanitarian law are accompanied by the inadequacies of the international legal framework in the monitoring of new technological realities such as the cyber-aggressions and the use of drones for the elimination of individualities and the destruction of assets. In contrast to this situation, several States have been given themselves an universal criminal jurisdiction to prosecute violations of humanitarian law, while the International Criminal Court has developed ambitious jurisprudence regarding the various types of criminal offense that are part of the Rome Statute.

This course is intended to fill a formation gap of lawyers, diplomats, technicians from non-governmental organizations, military personnel and police forces involved in international missions in areas of armed conflicts. Also, journalists, civil protection technicians and members of rescue teams accompanying situations of armed conflicts may benefit from the formation provided by the Course.

The several modules of the course cover the classic elements relating to the United Nations Charter system for the use of force (definition of aggression, self-defense, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, etc.); the current state of the art in matters of international humanitarian law (the Geneva Conventions regime: international conflicts, protected persons and property, regular and irregular combatants); mechanisms for disciplinary and penal sanctions for violation of humanitarian law (jurisdiction of the Portuguese courts and the International Criminal Court, relevant criminal and disciplinary types); international legal regimes for certain weapons (mines, cluster munitions, drones); and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights relating to armed conflicts.

The course will include three round tables that will allow the sharing of the experience of various operatives in missions where humanitarian law has 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 an armed conflict involving violations of International Humanitarian Law, with the resolution of a practical case (by groups of 10 students accompanied by lecturers from the Lisbon Law School, with distribution of roles and the obligation to reach a negotiated or "judicialized" solution).

Course programme

Applications

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