Exploration 4: Dealing with Violations

4A. Rationales and options for dealing with IHL violations (two sessions)

Module 3 took up the subject of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), and students discovered why such violations occur. They learned about the dilemmas that may arise in applying the law and the difficulties related to responsibilities, using a case study.

Module 4 is designed to broaden students’ understanding of the ways in which IHL is implemented. It presents a number of ways of dealing with IHL violations, such as bringing perpetrators to trial, uncovering the truth, reconciliation and forms of reparation.

Exploration 4A first asks students to consider some reasons for dealing with violations of IHL. It then invites them to explore ways of doing this and touches upon the responsibilities of the different actors involved.

4B. Judicial options (three sessions)

Exploration 4A introduced students to the reasons for dealing with violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and to different ways of doing so. Explorations 4B and 4C look more closely at specific mechanisms for addressing serious violations of IHL.

In Exploration 4B, students explore the efforts that have been made at various levels, since World War II, to bring perpetrators of serious IHL violations to trial. They look at examples of national, international and ‘hybrid’ courts and compare these different ways of administering justice.

4C. Non-judicial options (two sessions)

Exploration 4A introduced students to the reasons for dealing with violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), and to different ways of doing so. Explorations 4B and 4C look more closely at specific mechanisms for addressing serious violations of IHL.

In Exploration 4B, students explored instances in which people accused of war crimes were brought to trial.

Exploration 4C looks at some non-judicial ways of dealing with violations of IHL. Students are introduced to options such as reconciliation, forgiveness and reparation. They learn that bringing perpetrators of war crimes to trial is not the only way to address IHL violations and to leave the legacy of armed conflict behind.