Welcome to the Introduction to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) online course.
In this interactive e-learning course, you will go through the basic questions relating to the law of armed conflict, or International Humanitarian Law (IHL). You will learn about the origins and sources of this body of law, as well as to which situations it applies. You will also learn how to distinguish international from non-international armed conflicts. You will find out more about the specific rules protecting civilians, detainees, the wounded and sick, as well as medical personnel. 
By the end of this course, you will have a better grasp of the three key principles in IHL that regulate the conduct of hostilities - distinction, proportionality and precautions – and will be able to illustrate how they limit the effects of armed conflict on the civilian population. Finally, you will also learn how IHL is implemented, what happens when violations occur, and what the ICRC’s role is in promoting respect for this body of law. 

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Is this course for me?
The course does not require any prior legal knowledge and is principally addressed to humanitarian practitioners, policy-makers and other professionals who are keen on understanding how and when this body of law applies, and whom it protects.

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How will I benefit from this course?
By the end of this course you should be able to:
  • Summarise, and explain at a basic level, the rules of IHL.
  • Evaluate situations, assess how those situations would be classified under IHL, and know where to find the applicable law.
  • Identify situations that are at risk of being non-compliant with IHL and understand when additional support might be necessary (e.g. legal advisor). 
  • Recall where to find relevant information to support an IHL-informed decision-making.


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How long will it take?
 This course should take approximately 5 hours to complete (self-paced); each module is self-contained, providing for flexible learning.

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How much does it cost?
 This course is free!

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Will I get a certificate at the end?
 Yes - you will be able to download a certificate once you have have completed all of the modules within the course.

The word START and a question mark in a circleHow do I start?
 Scroll to the top of the page and click on the       Join        button. This will take you through to the course page itself. You don't need to complete the course in one go - you can always continue later from where you left off.