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Learner Reviews & Feedback for International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice by Universiteit Leiden

1,718 ratings

About the Course

“International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice” is the first MOOC of the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law, which is the platform within the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University for the research, teaching and dissemination of international humanitarian law (IHL). In this course, Prof. Robert Heinsch, Dr. Giulia Pinzauti and Dr. Emma Irving will give you a deep insight into the rules that govern armed conflict, and aim to mitigate human suffering on the battlefield. You will explore the why and how of IHL, followed by the different types of conflict. In no time you will find out which rules apply to the civil war in Syria, the military intervention in Ukraine and the occupation of the West Bank. During this course, you will learn how hostilities should be waged: Which weapons can be used by combatants and other fighters? And, who should never be a target during military operations? We will also look into the concept of protected persons, and you will find out how IHL affords protection to the sick and wounded, medical personal, detainees, children, journalists and other persons who are not - or not anymore - fighting. At the end of this course, you are introduced to the different implementation and enforcement mechanisms that aim to increase respect for IHL. Here, you are invited to think critically whether IHL works! Throughout this course you will benefit from a mix of theory and practice, which is at the heart of the vision and mandate of the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum. You can participate for instance in an ongoing case study where drones are flying over the fictitious country Arfula, and detainees are locked up in tiny cells. Or, you can join our discussions about IHL success stories and the major IHL challenges we face today, with distinguished speakers from the International Committee of the Red Cross and US Naval War College! This course is free to join and to participate in. There is the possibility to get a verified certificate for the course, which is a paid option. If you want a certificate, but are unable to pay for it, you can request financial aid via Coursera....

Top reviews


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I really enjoyed the flow of the videos and modules, also the teachers were easy to listen to and understand. The podcasts with important figures in the field were an excellent bonus!


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Very enjoyable! Loved how it wasn't just readings but podcasts and videos to keep students hooked. I learned so much throughout this course and have very little criticism of it!

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1 - 25 of 393 Reviews for International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice

By Hannatu D

Jan 15, 2022

Every Humanitarian, Human Rights activist, student of law and interested individual should take this course. The materials, videos, podcasts are all relevant. Kudos to Leiden University

By Zeeniya H

Nov 27, 2022

Excellent course with great teaching methods used. I particularly liked the case study used for the assignments at the end of each module providing a great way to apply the learned knowledge.

By Samantha D

Jun 4, 2020

I really enjoyed the flow of the videos and modules, also the teachers were easy to listen to and understand. The podcasts with important figures in the field were an excellent bonus!

By Md. A U

May 22, 2019

This was an amazing journey with the my respected Professors of Leiden University. I am really pleased to have this course completed successfully which have enriched my knowledge about actual implementation and enforcement of International Humanitarian Law. This was my first journey with Leiden University and I enjoyed the whole journey with this course. Hope see you soon with another challenge with new course to expand my knowledge in Humanitarian World.

By Kusal K A

Dec 10, 2018

'International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice' is a very creative and knowledgeable online course which is created for the law students who are learning IHL. I would like to thank for the course creators to make such a good online course for the law students in worldwide. This course has been a source of intellectual enrichment and practical professional development for me.

By Amreen C

Dec 15, 2018

this course is helpful in basic understanding of IHL and in understanding the difference between Human rights laws and IHL enforcements . Teaching Faculty clarified simplified the overview very well.

By Chayan C

Jun 4, 2020

Today is remarkable day in my life because i have successfully passed out online course on International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice from Universiteit Leiden. Leiden is one of the best university in international law discipline. I would like to give warm regards to Coursera because this is possible only for Coursera. I am too satisfied and i have learned a lot and gather a knowledge form this course. I would to like to give thanks to all the respected professors who guide me a lot with their lecture video. I would to like to thanks Prof. Heinsch for his easy interpretation . Furthermore i would like to do more courses form Coursera.

By Vaibhav S

May 31, 2019

A really very wonderful, articulate and helpful course. The Professors were great with their knowledge and presentations. The practical insight given by the guest-speakers were just priceless.

By Jack A C

Dec 28, 2020

I really appreciate the panel of professors, and their sharing content is very helpful for my career. Most importantly, the exclusive interviews with experts are definitely fabulous

By Omran a

Mar 27, 2020

This training course is very enjoyable and excellent in the field of international humanitarian law. I liked the sequence of topics and the different method of training from reading and listening and showing examples that occurred on the practical reality and training applications on the issue presented .. I hope that this training course will be developed on the Internet because it is undoubtedly valuable It is useful for those who are interested and interested in international humanitarian law.

I would like to suggest, that a specific training course be held so that the participants are registered before the start of the course and divided them into working groups at the end of the course to talk and discuss with each other in each group and then put the application issue and solve it according to opinions and analytical discussions, for example dividing the working groups into a defense team and a prosecution team General, the judges' team and the contradiction of the Ervola case and the violations that occurred

By Andreea P

Jun 7, 2020

I truly enjoyed studying this course, which is also the first course I completed on Coursera platform.

The information provided and the recommended reading were extremely useful to understand the topic and to get an insight in this fascinating area of law.

I found the course instructors very knowledgeable and passionate about the modules they taught during this course- and I believe this is an advantage because they simplified but also drew attention towards the most important aspects of each module. Moreover, analysing the decisions in relevant cases brought before the ICJ was a very useful tool to engage IHL and issues of IHRL. I personally appreciate the clarification given to the relationship between use of force in international law and IHL.

I would definitely use the information gained in this course for my university assignments. I would like to complete a similar course, if the instructors choose to further develop the topics we explored.

By swallow

Aug 9, 2020

This course actually is my first step into the International Law studies. I wasn't sure before applying because of the feeling, that this would be too difficult for me, particularly taking into account the fact that I have got almost no other knowledge or experience. Moreover, one of the main reasons for enrolling it was my doubts about studying International Law at the university. However, to my surprise and yet fortunately, I realized for myself that I can bravely connect my life with these studies because this course not only was interesting and full of useful material, but it provided me the calmness and confidence for my future as well because everything was provided clearly and gradually so any individual can cope with the training and successfully complete the course. Thank to the teachers\professors for their job and, naturally, the Coursera for making it accessible.

By Syed H

May 17, 2019

Dear Professor Robert Heinsch | Professor Giulia Pinzauti | Professors Emma Irving & Cinny Buys of the Universiteit Leiden & Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum. THANK YOU.

As I completed my Course today with Honors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the very clear, concise lectures and videos that enabled me to follow and understand the content of the course. The research you put into your lectures right from Week 1 to Week 5 were well thought of and sequential for any student to follow which is commendable. Your instructions along with audio-video, and the interviews of guest speakers were very clear, and the voice tone quality superb, all which enhanced the learning experience. It has been a pleasure learning from your lectures.

By Mandeep S

Apr 16, 2020

It was a very old dream of pursuing this wonderful and insightful course since almost a decade when I failed to pursue it from a very distinguished University in New Delhi, India due to personal reasons. My passion for this topic/ subject is immense which could be seen the fact that it didn't take me more than 7-10 days to complete this amazing 5 week course. It is designed for an easy learning by a thoughtful team led by Prof. and his distinguished team. It's been a great learning experience, especially in the lockdown period which has come as a blessing to me. Thanks again for everything. I also wish to add members and students on a common platform like Telegram - @IHLcourse to update each other about this wonderful field. 🙏

By Kevin M M

Mar 24, 2022

The expertise of the teachers, and their understanding of the subject matter, is what made the class a real treat to be in. My understanding of the topic grew, and greatly matured along with the complexity of the subject matter, and I'm in debt to the course staff, and professors who provided the articles, and toolkit needed to further my understanding. As of late my entreaties to be nominated to the Hague Court, as an associate justice, to my countries leadership, in the United States of America, have been replied to via e-mail, and I too look forward to the day that we as Americans can work together an order to bring a more prosperous country to fruition. Thank You.

By Кондрашов О Р

Aug 15, 2020

Very insightful and detailed. This course has a curriculum that embraces almost all you need to know about IHL to have a moderate grasp of it, including the most important practice. If studied WITH all the required readings, the course provides a very strong basis that is enough to start researching any subject of interest. However, without the readings, videos in the latter modules lack detail found in modules 1-3. The last module especially is extremely barebones. I propose the creators to give a few-modules attention to the topic of IHL enforcement in practice, especially in international courts. This is essential for full understanding of the subject.

By Irene

May 30, 2022

Being a student of international law, this course is really helpful in summarizing the lecture notes and important reading materials. I understand that this course is designed in a way that learners from other fields would also benefit from its context and concept and thus, several provisions in IHL treaties and case law are not mentioned in the short lectures. However, they are specified under the reading materials for further reading. Overall, I can guarantee that you would not be disappointed and you can expect only the best quality of lectures from Leiden law lecturers!

By Kenn B

May 22, 2020

The course provided detailed and comprehensive learning materials for the student to indulge in while also providing platforms to practically apply material that has been learnt. The external reference materials were also abundant and co-curricular learning was definitely fostered throughout the length of this course. The course instructors provided concise and comprehensible explanations of the different concepts and proceeded at a pace whereby retention of information is maximised. I would recommend this course to someone who is interested in IHL!

By Baagala E L

Feb 1, 2020

This has been really an amazing course.I have acquired a lot of knowledge in IHL.The beauty about this course is that we didn't only stop at studying the theoretical aspects of IHL but also the practical aspects across the globe are incorporated therein; contemporary IHL issues which has given me a clear insight on various matters regarding IHL it's applicability, implementation and enforcement.Iam really grateful and thankful.

Thank you Leiden University -Kalshoven Gieskes Forum ( Leiden KGF).

By Yolondie R C

Feb 1, 2019

This course was really comprehensive and engaging! It addressed a lot of really complex areas of law in a practical way that was easy to understand and really get involved with. I also really appreciated how there was a specific focus on how we can actually begin contributing to the field of international humanitarian law now and how we can pursue a career in such a fascinating area of law. Thank you for providing such a fantastic course!

By Basanti M

Dec 21, 2018

Incredible opporunity to learn more about this niche area of International Law. This course offers a a great, basic, introduction to International Humanitarian Law and is catered to everyone. You do not need to have a law degree to understand the contents of this course and it really offers you a well rounded idea of what IHL is, how to approach understanding IHL and the ways in which it is currently being challenged.

By Degreat F

Mar 25, 2019



By Michael M

Feb 26, 2020

The course is really fascinating and those who are interested in pursuing career in humanitarian field shall do it! The complexity of this course captured my mind. However, every single detail is explained in plain language. So do it and you won't regret!

By Ethel W

Dec 14, 2020

Cousera constantly reviews the course to make it easier for learners.

It's been a great course study and my own pace. Thank you so much to all the parties who made this possible.

By Rabia W

Feb 17, 2019

Excellent course for law students...