Reporting Justice

I/1: Introduction to IHL & ICL

I/1: Introduction to IHL & ICL

Law Module 1:  Introduction to International Humanitarian and International Criminal Law

We will examine the underpinnings of the laws of war (commonly referred to as international humanitarian law) and the relatively new field of international criminal law.  We will also review judgments on three forms of criminal liability:  superior/command responsibility, aiding and abetting, and joint criminal enterprise.

Key Questions:

What are international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law?  And how are they different?  Do they in any way overlap?

What is meant by a “just” and “unjust” war?

Briefly describe the work of three international organizations involved in investigating violations of international humanitarian law.

How is superior/command responsibility defined in international law?

Required Readings:

In Crimes of War, read sections on Jus ad Bellum/Jus in Bello (275); Just and Unjust Wars (276); War Crimes, Categories of (420-422); Gray Areas in International Humanitarian Law (196-197); Proportionality, Principle of (342) ; Protected Persons (342-343); Civilian Immunity (103); Shields (378-381); Immunity from Attack (234-235); and Chemical Weapons (93-94).

In Reporting Justice, read “Chapter 1 – The Fight Against Impunity” (2-9, available at

International Committee of the Red Cross, “What is International Humanitarian Law?,” available at

Bruce Cronin, “International Law,” World at Risk:  A Global Issues Sourcebook, Second Edition (CQ Press, 2010) (495-517).

“Brief Primer on International Humanitarian Law,” The Program for Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, available at

“U.N. Legal Counsel O’Brien on the rule of law, international criminal justice, responsibility to protect,” InterLawGrrls, available at

Chacha Bhoke Murungu, “International Criminal Justice and Africa”, available at

Selected Online Resources:

Crimes of War Project, available at (the themes of the Crimes of War book are developed and applied to ongoing conflicts).

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), available at (full texts of international humanitarian law treaties and commentaries are provided).

United Nations, available at (offers information about international law and UN-sponsored courts and tribunals).

Amnesty International’s Campaign for International Justice, available at (provides information related to international crimes and humanitarian law violations).

Human Rights Watch, available at (features news releases, reports and commentaries on contemporary international humanitarian and criminal law issues).

Human Rights First, available at (offers research data relevant to international humanitarian and criminal law violations).

Maxwell Chibundu, “Sources of International Law”, available at