Friday, November 5, 2010

Intensive IHL Workshop

Santa Clara is pleased to again host with the International Committee of the Red Cross an intensive, hands-on workshop on international humanitarian law. Details and application materials are available here.

Now in its fifth year, the Workshop is free to law students and will be held January 4 - 7, 2011, at Santa Clara University School of Law. (We will also consider applications from LLM and other special students.) The Workshop features faculty drawn from the ICRC, the U.S. Armed Services’ JAG Corps, lawyers from the Department of Defense/State, and law professors specializing in humanitarian law. The Workshop involves a series of lectures as well as exercises on the various topics, including target selection and proportionality, protected persons, internment/detention rules, the interface of IHL with human rights law and the crime(s) of terrorism, and war crimes prosecutions. The Workshop includes three and a half days of instruction and culminates in a final drafting/negotiation simulation on Friday morning that consolidates the prior material in a real-world context. Participants who complete the program will receive a certificate from the ICRC.

Because there is no registration or other fee, the only cost involves travel and lodging costs. We arrange for a block of hotel rooms at a discounted rate for students. Some law schools have assisted their students with these costs.

The Workshop is quite competitive; in the past, we have received over 100 applications for the 40 available spots. Nearly all of the students accepted were 2nd or 3rd year law students, and most had substantial experience in this field. As a result, we cannot guarantee that everyone who applies will be accepted, but we do appreciate recommendations for good candidates for the program. Our student evaluations are consistently high; all students attending last year agreed that the course was an excellent supplement to their legal education and a great opportunity to meet IHL practitioners and learn more about this important area of law.

IHL was once a somewhat obscure, technical, and highly specialized area of law. It now is a topic of everyday conversations. This process pre-dated the events of 9-11, but those attacks thrust IHL into a spotlight in which it has remained ever since. Indeed, not a day goes by when there is not a story in the major newspapers implicating IHL, and dozens of cases are proceeding in U.S. and foreign courts adjudicating IHL rules and treaties. Notwithstanding this greater attention to the field, misunderstandings persist about when IHL applies and what it dictates. This misinformation is found within the press, among government policymakers, within the general public, and among the judiciary and lawyers.
One of the goals of this course is to give future young lawyers the tools they need to understand and apply IHL, evaluate arguments and claims about IHL, and be effective advocates in situations and cases that implicate IHL. Given the globalization of law, a basic understanding of international law in general and of IHL in particular are an essential part of any lawyer’s legal literacy. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to contact Elyse Segnit.
For our prior posts on the workshop, see here and here.

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