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

1,468 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


Dec 14, 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.


May 30, 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.

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26 - 50 of 327 Reviews for International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice

By J P W

Dec 22, 2018

Outstanding course. The materials was clear and well presented. Some of the quiz questions could have been clearer. The presentation takes into account the advances and positive aspects of IHL, but in some respects fails to recognize the inherent flaws relating to implementation and enforcement in the face of a new and ambiguous transnational type of armed conflict.

By Gesine W

Apr 18, 2020

I really enjoyed taking this class because it helped me to deepen my existing knowledge on IHL and to learn much more about the details and challenges of IHL. The videos just have the perfect length and podcasts and the Arafula case study make this class a really comprehensive programme which easily helps you to remember what you have learned. I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who is working on international relations and international security because it constitutes a great complement to the classical approaches of political science.

By Jesse R

Jul 24, 2022

A comprehensive dive into the application of IHL. This course has taught me the various guidelines set out in the many articles and policies. I recommend this course to all with an interest to understand the similarities, differences, and purpose of use, with IHL & HRL in both NIACs and IACs. Great content and reading materials. This course was executed professionally and has been designed to educate, inform, provoke opinions, and ensure the student completes with a newfound understanding of IHL and how conflicts are/should be managed in wars.

By Everson B F

Jan 30, 2023

Deixarei um comentário em português para que outros brasileiros e demais falantes da língua portuguesa possam compreender que apesar do curso ser ministrado em inglês, vale cada segundo de esforço! É um curso extremamente rico, com profissionais de mais alta excelência! Mesmo que você não tenha conhecimento em Direito Humanitário, o curso te dará todas as bases necessárias (materiais de leitura, podcasts, atividades para fixar o conhecimento). Recomendaria mil vezes!

By Éloïse E

Jan 2, 2021

I have a law degree, but no prior knowledge of international humanitarian law. I found the class to be an interesting and well-structured introduction to international humanitarian law. The videos explaining the theoretical concepts were clear, and the podcasts with different practitioners of IHL covered an interesting range of current issues. In my opinion, a legal background is not required to understand and enjoy this class.

By Riham F

Mar 8, 2020

The course is incredibly presented and the material is outstanding! Just the right amount of knowledge and study with further enrichment applicable. The case study is perfect to implement what was learned in each module. Perfect presentation from the Professors. I am focusing to get tangible career path out of this course.

Please offer more relative courses to International work and sustainability.

Thank you so much!

By Tom M G

Dec 6, 2018

I would have no hesitation in recommending this course. The content was excellent and the lectures were presented in a manner which allowed one to easily absorb and understand the subject matter. The pod casts from the outside experts during the course were absolutely fantastic. Many thanks for putting on such an interesting course which has further fueled my interest in International Humanitarian Law.

By Steven E d G

Dec 22, 2018

The content is sufficient and well presented, without overloading the student with too much information. Theories are also connected with real-world examples, which makes the lessons easy to appreciate and relate to. The overall structure of the course is organized and well planned. Thanks to Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, and Leiden University.

By Ibrahim O

Jul 19, 2020

A course that has a decent amount of work and a lot of content to cover in a short amount of lectures and readings. There are optional discussion prompts, but if a student is well-engaged into the course they would be partaking in those too. The course intends not just for you to learn about IHL, but also to analyse, evaluate and debate different IHL concepts with other students.


Oct 24, 2021

This was a wonderfully arranged course.The facilitators and experts who put in their time and shared their expertise did an amazing job.

I started as a novice ,but each module got more interesting and detailed.I got through this course with a very good working knowledge and understanding of the history,importance,implementation and challenges of IHL,


By Reem M E A

Oct 23, 2022

One of the things that I've never regregted doing was enrolling in this course. Powered by Leiden University, this might have been the most informative syllabus I've ever had for International Humanitarian Law. Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch, Dr. Giulia Pinzauti, Dr. Emma Irving, and Ms. Cinny Buys have made it easier for me to understand the whole course.

By Candela F G

May 31, 2020

I enjoyed this online course very much and the content and explanations were simply perfect. The interviews were also a good idea to introduce us more to the subject we were studying at that moment. It was also very helpful for what I want to do in the future. If you ever do another course like this I would definitely join in!

By Dhruv G

May 26, 2020

The course was an awesome experience. It helped me to understand the basics and intricacies related to the International Humanitarian Law, while providing a way of applying the knowledge earned from it practically, through the use of the Arfula Case Study.

Thank you so much for the great course material and knowledge sharing

By Nicole N

Oct 15, 2022

A comprehensive foundational course on IHL. The whole materials and structure allowed me to understand the basics of IHL and its applications by showing examples from actual cases. I also really enjoyed the case study in the honour's track - it was an excellent add-on to "apply" the knowledge that I learn from each week.

By Bešir I

Mar 21, 2020

This was my first online course and I am very pleased with this kind of education and learning. It is interesting and a huge advantage is that you have an opportunity to access the course whenever you want. I am sure I will attend many more courses, especially because of positive experience on this one. I recommend it!

By Marlon G

Nov 6, 2020

It's enlightening to learn more about IHL. It really opened more horizons to explore and act more towards realization of IHL concepts and principles. You'll be more confident in dealing with realities of life in the communities we belong. Looking forward to continue this learning platform for the welfare of mankind.

By Katie S

Jul 11, 2020

I learned a lot from this course, content that will be relevant for me in my pursuit of a specialized graduate degree and in my career. I would recommend to those beginning the course to plan on the weekly assignments taking a bit longer than indicated if you want to get through all of the readings. Time well spent!

By Molly A W

Oct 19, 2019

I completely loved this course and I learnt so much about IHL and how its put into practice and it has helped me realize that I really want to study Law and so I am now applying for Bachelors Programs at various universities in The Netherlands and Ireland, my dream is now to become a Human Rights Lawyer.

By Giuliano G

Nov 8, 2020

Basic but comprehensive and well organized course. Main IHL topics are covered and textbook and optional readings offer an extensive possibility for further understanding and experience. Excellent level of instructors and experts insights contributions; Leiden University IHL vocation is well renowned

By Cassandra B

Apr 19, 2019

The course explores all the main components of IHL. However it also introduces the student to contemporary issues and challenges in IHL. It is very didactic with the case study on Arfula. Explanations are great and all the professors interesting. I like the fact to have podacts with visiting experts.

By Abhijit B

Apr 18, 2020

As an educator I learnt a lot about how to structure a course whereby both, persons who are just starting out with the subject and persons who have some experience with the subject, can be be effectively engaged. I humbly express my gratitude and congratulations to the entire team of professors.

By Camille D

Oct 29, 2020

This course provided the opportunity for a clear understanding of International Humanitarian Law. I especially liked the podcast interviews. I found these to be quite practical in giving the real time experiences of modern day professionals in the field. I would do another course with Coursera.

By João A F G

Oct 26, 2022

Um bom curso de iniciação em Direito Internacional Humanitário, com uma boa carga teórica e inserções pontuais de compatilhamento de experiências vivenciadas com a realização deste Direito em campo. Vale o estudo para aprofundar o conhecimento neste ramo do Direito Internacional Público.

By Cheree C

Jun 12, 2022

This course thought me so many things, it's also very entertaining with all the forums but at the same time challenging. I love this course so much and I want to thank the Professors and those who made this course possible, thank you for all the efforts and for letting me gain knowledge.