The educational value of international humanitarian law clinics : the examples of Leiden and Bochum
Robert Heinsch, Lotte Chevalier
Host item entries:
Humanitäres Völkerrecht = Journal of international law of peace and armed conflict, Bd. 1, H. 3-4, 2018, p. 225-240
Teaching international humanitarian law can take many different forms but using clinical legal education in this field of law has proven especially successful. This article describes the benefits as well as the challenges of setting up an international humanitarian law clinic in the traditional teaching environments of the Netherlands and Germany. It highlights the experiences and best practices accumulated during six years of letting students of Leiden University and Ruhr University Bochum successfully conduct research projects with project partners like the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Netherlands or German Red Cross, as well as different human rights NGOs and government agencies. It shows why students love participating in clinical legal education, and why this form of legal training not only enables students to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations, but also trains them in soft skills like teamwork, conflict resolution and time management. Lastly, it shows that through setting up IHL clinics all over the world and being part of an international IHL clinic network, the authors contributed to having real impact on the further dissemination, implementation and enforcement of IHL.