Short course

International Law in Armed Conflict


The details
International Law in Armed Conflict
Human Rights professionals
In person
Tuesday 3 September to Friday 6 September 2024.

The Essex Human Rights Centre and the Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub present a four day practical development course, taught by leading practitioners in the field of international Human Rights and Armed Conflict. 

The International Law in Armed Conflict course will be held in person at our Colchester campus, over four days from Tuesday 3 September to Friday 6 September 2024.

How to apply

Applications for the International Law in Armed Conflict course are now open. Book your place, or for enquiries, please contact:


Book your place


This course is designed to provide the foundations for understanding the role of international law in situations of armed conflict. We will learn how the law regulates the conduct of parties to the conflict, how it seeks to combine principles of military necessity and humanity, and the protections it provides to affected populations. Alongside the applicable rules, the course will provide insight into how these are implemented in practice, with a focus on the real-world challenges faced by those in the field.

All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a University of Essex, Human Rights Centre Certificate.

The design of the course requires limiting enrolment to a maximum of 40 participants.


Meet the course facilitators

  • Professor Noam Lubell (Course Director) is Professor of International Law of Armed Conflict in the School of Law, University of Essex. He was Head of the Law School from 2014 to 2017. Between 2013-2019 Prof Lubell held the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at The Geneva Academy, and from 2010 to 2018 he was the Rapporteur of the International Law Association's Committee on the Use of Force. Prof Lubell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the US, working on the legal aspects of new military technologies. He has been a member of numerous expert groups and consultations with governments, militaries, the ICRC and the UN on topics such as the law of occupation, self-defence, the scope of the battlefield, and autonomous weapon systems.
  • Professor Carla Ferstman has over 25 year’s experience working with intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and in private practice on human rights and peacebuilding in a variety of post-conflict and fragile settings, including Rwanda (1995-1997) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1999-2001). She was the Legal Director (2001-2004) then Director (2004 - 2018) of British NGO REDRESS, a specialist organization supporting victims of torture and related abuses to obtain justice. She is a recognised expert on victims of conflict and human rights abuses and is a member of the Justice Rapid Response expert roster on sexual and gender based violence investigations. She has delivered specialised training all over the world, and contributed to legal challenges and parliamentary inquiries concerning investigations and accountability processes involving military and other actors in humanitarian and conflict settings.
  • Professor Geoff Gilbert has worked alongside UNHCR since 1995 and has been part of 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Demeter’s Eagle training programme for officers with respect to humanitarian operations and displacement for much the same period. In 2019, he took part in the training programme for the Brigade and the French 17eme Brigade on joint operations. His expertise is in relation to displacement in acute crises and the operationalization of interoperability between the military and humanitarian actors. He has written widely on this topic and has carried out training for the San Remo International Institute of Humanitarian Law. He has advised governments and humanitarian actors, both in Geneva and in the field, including Sarajevo, Kosovo, Serbia, Ethiopia and Jordan. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law.
  • Dr Claire Simmons is a senior lecturer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (UK), and fellow of the University of Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub. She is one of the authors of the “Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law” published by the Geneva Academy and ICRC, and has experience working on international humanitarian law and human rights in academic institutions and non-profit organisations.

Teaching programme

The International Law in Armed Conflict course is held at our Colchester campus over four days between Tuesday 3 September and Friday 6 September 2024. 

A summary of the sessions Is below. Sessions run between 9.00am and 5.00pm (lunch and refreshments are provided).

All sessions will include an interactive approach combining presentations, discussion, and case-studies.

A more detailed teaching programme will be sent to eligible participants ahead of the course along with any pre-reading materials.

Day 1:

  • Overview of legal frameworks and bodies
  • International and Non-International Armed Conflicts
  • Targeting and Conduct of Hostilities

Day 2:

  • Protection of Civilians and Detainees
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons

Day 3:

  • International Criminal Law
  • Implementation and National Investigations

Day 4:

  • Human Rights in Armed Conflict
  • Current & Future Challenges

Learning outcomes

In taking this course participants will:

  • learn the underlying legal principles and frameworks regulating armed conflicts
  • acquire insight into the challenges of implementing these rules in practice
  • become familiar with the rules governing conduct of hostilities, including distinction, proportionality, and use of weapons
  • gain an understanding of the protections provided to detainees, civilians in occupied territory, and other affected populations
  • learn about the legal frameworks and bodies providing protection to refugees and internally displaced persons
  • understand how implementation and enforcement mechanisms seek to ensure accountability at national and international levels
  • learn about current and future challenges to regulating armed conflict arising from technologies such as cyber operations and artificial intelligence


The content of the course is suitable for practitioners - from the humanitarian and human rights world as well as staff from government and international bodies - intending to gain an understanding of the legal frameworks for regulating armed conflict.

It is also suited to post-graduate students and academics seeking knowledge in this field. A law degree is not required, but some familiarity with international law is recommended.

The course is delivered entirely in English. Thus, you are required to be highly competent in English.



Fee type Early bird (until 17/06/24) Standard (18/06/24 - 19/08/24) 
Full / Commercial fee £760 £880
Essex student discount £570 £660
Essex staff / alumni £608 £704
Non-Essex student £608 £704
Non-Essex academic £646 £748
Public sector / NGO / Charity £646 £748

Course fee does not include accommodation (See Accommodation section for more details).

Fee includes:

  • 1 Evening meal* and optional social activities and networking events.
  • Daily lunches* and refreshments from our on campus caterer.
  • A certification upon completing your course, endorsed by the University of Essex Human Rights Centre

* Delegates will be responsible for obtaining their own food outside of these times. We recommend taking this into account when you budget for attendance. There is a Tesco located nearby, as well as many food outlets on campus.

Applications for our Conflict and International Law training are now open! 

Please get in touch for details of further discounts that are available for the following:

  • Participants at partner organisations
  • Students from the DAC list of countries and territories eligible to receive official development assistance
  • Doctoral Training Partnerships (Primarily in Humanities or Social Sciences and are based in the South East) 


Accommodation is not included in our Short Course package.

Delegates will be able to book on campus accommodation at very affordable rates.

We offer room only or bed and breakfast accommodation. Rooms have en-suite facilities with bedlinen provided as well as shared access to a kitchen.

The University of Essex's Colchester Campus is just one hour from London and Stansted Airport, and set in over 200 acres of beautiful parkland, and homes over 20 academic departments and schools.

Find out more about travelling to our Colchester Campus.

Once your application has been accepted, we will send you all the necessary information and links to make your accommodation booking. 

How to apply

Applications for the International Law and Armed course are now open. To apply, complete the steps below:

  • Applicants should complete the online application form.
  • Your application will then be reviewed by a member of the Summer Schools team and you will be contacted if you are successful.
  • We will then send you a link to the payment page. Once you have paid you will receive confirmation of your place we will be in touch with all the necessary information to complete your registration.
  • Full payment must be received by 17 June 2024 in order to claim the early bird discount.
  • Applications will need to be finalised by 19 August 2024 in order for you to be given necessary access.


You can pay for your place online via our Webshop which you will be sent a link to after completing the application form. The University bank will accept Visa, Mastercard, and Eurocard.

Paying by invoice

If you specifically require payment via an invoice, please email us at

    Apply now

    Applications for the International Law in Armed Conflict course are now open. Complete the online form to submit your application.

    Apply here