2023-2024 / DROI2330-3

International humanitarian law


48h Th

Number of credits

 Master in law (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS) (CATANE (OUT))5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS) (CATANE (IN)), 1st year5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (60 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology)5 crédits 


Christophe Deprez

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course deals with the key principles of international humanitarian law (IHL), or the law of armed conflict (LOAC). 

Twenty lectures approximately will be held from September to December, which will cover topics such as the definition and classification of armed conflicts, the concept of protected persons, authorized methods and means of warfare, and issues connected to the implementation of IHL. We will also deal with some aspects of international criminal law.

This course will also work toward the preparation and possible participation by teams of students in the Jean-Pictet competition and in the International Criminal Court moot court competition sponsored by the Hague Academy of International Law. The selection of participants takes place in May-June of the academic year prior to those competitions.

The four students selected for the International Criminal Court moot court competition will be exempted of writing a master thesis (this only applies to law students). The three students selected for the Jean-Pictet competition will be exempted of their whole "travail de fin d'études" (this only applies to law students). Should the three participants not be short-listed for the final stage of the Jean-Pictet competition, they will be requested to complete an internship on IHL in the course of the second semester (which the course instructor is committed to arranging and supervising).

The Jean-Pictet competition : (http://ww.concourspictet.org)
This is a competition on IHL that involves each year universities from all around the globe. Beside the competitive aspect, it also consists of an intensive training session for students, which aims at allowing them to increase their knowledge of IHL through simulations and role-playing games. These games take place during an intensive week that pits the finalist teams against each other. Each team is made up of three candidates. Selection by the jury takes place mid-November. The competition week takes place in March or April.

The ICC moot court competition : (https://www.hagueacademy.nl/concours-de-plaidoiries/)
This is a competition on international criminal law that involves three steps: an initial stage for written submissions, the oral stage of the moot court as such (that is organised in The Hague with the best ten teams during the initial stage), and the grand final organised at the International Criminal Court.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

This course aims to disseminate the key principles of IHL. It enables students to acquire basic knowledge in this field. It also seeks to stimulate, through concrete case studies, a practical and useful application of these principles.

Participation in the Jean-Pictet competition or in the ICC moot court competition is certainly an asset for students eager to enter the bar or an institution - whether public or private - working in conflict and postconflict contexts.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Participants are expected to be familar with the key principles of public international law.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Lectures will be organized during the first semester.  Several guest speakers (military, judges,...) will also be invited to take the floor. Class attendance is warmly encouraged and especially desirable when a guest speaker is scheduled to come.

Selection to participate in the competitions
Around the end of May or June, an internal selection process will determine which ULiege students may attempt to participate in the next Jean-Pictet competition or ICC moot court competition.

Recommended or required readings

Lecture notes will be made available to students for most of the sessions. These notes are compiled in a syllabus.

The code de droit international humanitaire, Éditions Bruylant, 2023, is highly recommended.

It is also possible to print the several useful documents via the ICRC website. To find out which conventions are to be printed, please refer to the table of contents of the Bruylant code. 

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

Closed-book oral examination.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

See above.


For further information, please contact Christophe DEPREZ (christophe.deprez@uliege.be) or Louna MONACO (louna.monaco@uliege.be).

Association of one or more MOOCs