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Free Online Course on International Humanitarian Law

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) is offering a free online course on International Humanitarian Law. This law course will help you to understand these complex legal issues by teaching you basic norms governing armed conflicts, also known as ‘International Humanitarian Law’ (‘IHL’).

In this seven-week course, applicants will learn how international law regulates armed conflicts, protects individuals in wartime, including terrorism, and guarantees minimum compliance. The course will start on August 13, 2019.

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Course At A Glance

Length: 7 weeks
Effort: 6-8 hours/week
Subject: Law
Institution: Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) and edX
Languages: English
Price:  Free
Certificate Available: Yes. Verified Certificate for $150
Session: Course starts on August 13, 2019

Providers’ Details

The Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), founded in 1425, is one of Europe’s oldest universities. The university has more than 28,000 students from bachelor’s level to doctorate and adult continuing education, in all disciplines. With its main campus located in Louvain-la-Neuve, next to Brussels, the university attracts every year 5,000 international students from more than 120 countries. UCL is ranked first among Belgium’s French-speaking universities (QS World University Ranking).

About This Course

Armed conflicts have always existed all over the world. Unfortunately, recent events have shown that this phenomenon is becoming increasingly complex, especially with respect to certain legal issues, for instance relating to:

  • The definition of armed conflicts when foreign forces are fighting armed groups located in the territory of another State.
  • The definition of combatants when terrorists are involved in the hostilities.
  • The targeting of certain objects which are used for both military and civilian purposes.
  • The detention by rebels of State armed forces.
  • The involvement and status of UN peacekeepers involved in combat operations.
  • The application of the law of occupation to international organizations.

Why Take This Course?

This law course will help you to understand these complex legal issues by teaching you basic norms governing armed conflicts, also known as ‘International Humanitarian Law’ (‘IHL’). This course provides essential theoretical and practical knowledge for students, researchers, and academics who wish to specialize in this field. It is also dedicated to professionals, including members of NGOs, involved in armed conflict situations, or members of armed forces.

Learning Outcomes

  • Decode and analyze in depth complex issues related to armed conflicts
  • Understand the philosophy and logic underlying International Humanitarian Law Norms
  • Be able to propose constructive solutions in light of the evolution of the nature of armed conflicts and the legal norms applicable to them


Raphaël Van Steenberghe

Raphaël van Steenberghe is Professor at the International Law Centre of the University of Louvain (UCL) and Research Associate of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS).

Jerôme de Hemptinne

Professor, International Humanitarian Law, University of Louvain (UCL)


  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law (subjects and sources of International Law/principles governing international responsibility). Such knowledge may be acquired by the successful completion of International law.
  • In addition, students should be familiar with the requirements of graduate-level courses and should preferably have already followed some law courses in order to be familiar with legal concepts and legal language.

Course Format

Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Sources and subjects
Week 3: Scope of application
Week 4: Conduct of hostilities
Week 5: Protection of persons
Week 6: State responsibility
Week 7: Individual responsibility

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Create an edX account to SignUp
  • Choose “Register Now” to get started.
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