IHL for Journalists

Brand new at the Institute.

A workshop which offers coherent and relevant legal training in an ever more complex and public area of law those who are involved in reporting on armed conflict. A balanced curriculum with a combination of central presentations, panel discussions, and syndicate work.

Postponed to November/December 2016


On 27 May 2015 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2222. That historic Resolution recognised that journalists and media professionals play an “important role in protection of civilians and conflict prevention by acting as an early warning mechanism in identifying and reporting potential situations that could result in genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.” The Resolution also recognised that their work “often puts them at specific risk of intimidation, harassment and violence in situations of armed conflict.”

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for Journalists is a new and unique initiative. The tailor made course for journalists addresses the fundamental importance of offering those who report on armed conflict coherent and relevant legal training in an ever more complex and public area of law, whilst also recognizing and addressing the personal risks to providers.

The course is designed to meet two main objectives. The first objective is to provide participants with an overall introduction to IHL as it applies to the broad spectrum of armed conflict in order that they have a better optic to critically analyse and report on conflict, and the conduct of hostilities. The course will explore both the legality, or right of states to resort to war, Jus ad Bellum, before examining the law concerning the conduct of hostilities within armed conflict, Jus in Bello, and mechanisms of enforcing accountability.

Participants will consider:

  • Under what circumstances can a country go to war?
  • Is there a legal basis for foreign intervention absent a UNSCR?
  • International armed conflict or civil war; what rules apply to the opposing forces?
  • Who & what can be targeted?
  • What weapons are lawful?
  • Does human rights law apply in armed conflict?
  • What is a war crime?
  • How is accountability enforced?

The second objective acknowledges the inherent dangers of reporting on armed conflict and provides participants with an understanding of their own status in conformity with IHL. In this part of the course participants will cover safety of journalists:

  • What are the main risks for journalists working in contemporary armed conflict?
  • What are the legal sources of protection of journalists working in armed conflict?
  • How are journalists protected while working in armed conflict (personal protection)
  • How is the work of journalists protected while working in armed conflict (personal protection)?
  • Useful instruments and contacts for journalists working in armed conflicts

The methodology for the workshop will comprise a combination of central presentations, panel discussions, and syndicate work. IIHL Teaching Staff and Facilitators are drawn from experienced senior military legal officers, leading academics, practicing lawyers and senior government officials practising in the field together with experts from international organisations. The course has been designed specifically for journalists and other news providers, and assumes no previous legal experience. Additionally, PIOs, Media & Info Ops Officers, as well as students of journalism may find the course beneficial. The course is conducted in English at an UNCLAS level and under Chatham House rules.

Administrative information
The registration fee is 800 Euro. This should be remitted before the start of the course, or on arrival in cash or Euro currency cheque. Visa and/or Mastercard are accepted. The registration fee covers:

  • Workshop material
  • Lunches and coffee breaks on working days
  • Welcome Cocktail and final official dinner
  • Course Photograph, Diploma  and Institute Plaque
  • Transport from/to Nice Airport

The registration fee does not cover all other expenses incurred by the participant such as hotel accommodation, laundry or telephone calls. Participants must ensure that they bring with them sufficient funds to pay for such expenses. Queries on the course including registration and administrative questions should be directed to Ms Patrizia Di Pietro at patrizia@iihl.org.