The Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law provides a platform within the Grotius Centre for
International Legal Studies for research, teaching and further dissemination of
international humanitarian law. Additionally, the Forum offers students the
opportunity to participate in an international humanitarian law clinic to work
on projects of partner institutions in the field.
Forum was established in 2011 and named after Frits Kalshoven,
Professor Emeritus of public international law and international humanitarian
law at Leiden Law School (1967-1989), and the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund
. The Forum
is directed by Dr. Robert Heinsch
Forum seeks to stimulate and coordinate research within the Grotius Center in
the field of international humanitarian law with a specific focus on:
- The protection
of the victims of war, in particular the protection of children and women, and
the legal remedies for the victims of war.
- The conduct of hostilities and prosecution
of war crimes (Dr. Robert Heinsch and Dr. Erik Koppe).
- Humanitarian assistance and
development (Prof. Horst Fischer and Ms. Emilie Kuijt LL.M., who is a Gieskes Ph.D. fellow).
Forum regularly hosts research group meetings during which Grotius
fellows and a select number of associated researchers, including Mr. Masahiro
Kurosaki, Ms. Christine Tremblay, Mr. Jeroen van den Boogaard, and Ms. Emilia
Richard, as well as alumni from Leiden Law School’s LL.M. Programs in Public International
research group discusses current research and developments in international
intended to incorporate the results of the Study Group on the ‘The conduct of
hostilities under international humanitarian law - challenges of 21st century
of the International Law Association
(ILA), of which Dr. Heinsch is
Rapporteur into the research activities of the Forum.
September 2012, the Leiden Law School’s Master program on Public International
offers a specialized track on International Humanitarian Law. The track enables
students – in addition to the general course on Protection of Victims of War
(which is compulsory for all Master students in Public International Law) – to
choose two specialized courses on international humanitarian law: one
involving issues of
humanitarian law in the context of an official competition or moot court,
currently the Kalshoven IHL Competition and the ICC Trial Competition (both for
a limited number of selected students) or the course Practicing International
Law (default course); and one
on Contemporary Issues in International Humanitarian Law. Furthermore, the
track requires students to write their Master thesis on an issue of
international humanitarian or international criminal law.
Forum seeks to foster public debate on issues of international humanitarian law
by organizing regularly panel discussions and lectures current problems and
issues in this area.
As from 2011, the Forum hosted the following public events:
- On 22
September 2011, the Forum hosted the book launch of Prof. Kalshoven and Prof.
Zegveld’s 4th edition of their standard textbook on international humanitarian
law "Constraints on the Waging of War”, with an ensuing panel discussion on "Challenges
of Contemporary Armed Conflicts and International Law” which included Judge
Alphonsus Orie as a special guest, and Prof. Kalshoven, Prof. Zegveld, and
Prof. Fischer as panelists.
- On 29
March 2012, the Forum hosted a panel discussion on Palestinian Statehood with
Prof. Dugard, Valentina Azarov and Michael Kearny.
- On 8
November 2012, the Forum and the Volkenrechtelijk Dispuut ‘Prof. mr B.M.
Telders’ hosted a panel discussion on the protection of civilians in the Syria
conflict with Prof. Schrijver, Prof. Saxon, Prof. Zegveld and Dr. Heinsch.
- On 20
November 2012, the Forum and the European Center for Constitutional and Human
Rights (ECCHR) hosted a panel discussion
on a communication from the ECCHR to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding violence against trade unionists in Colombia.
- On 30 May 2013, the Forum and the the Volkenrechtelijk Dispuut ‘Prof. mr B.M.
Telders’ hosted a panel discussion on cyberwarfare and international law with Prof. Gill and Colonel Dr. Ducheine.
- On 22-23 November 2013, the Forum and the Grotius Centre (in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam and the University of Glasgow) will host an expert meeting of the ILA Study Group on 'The Conduct of Hostilities and International Humanitarian Law - Challenges of 21st Century Warfare'.
Further, on 24
and 25 January 2013, Ms. Kuijt (Gieskes Fellow) and Ms. Jansen of Tilburg
University organized a conference on "Humanitarian Assistance and International
at Leiden Law School.
International Humanitarian Law Clinic
2012 the Forum offers a select number of students the opportunity to
participate in the Forum’s International Humanitarian Law Clinic (IHL Clinic). The
IHL Clinic allows them to work (
on specific projects involving issues of international humanitarian law and to
gain valuable practical experience in this area. The projects are selected by
the Forum in cooperation with its cooperation partners. Currently, the Forum
- the Netherlands Red Cross;
- the German Red Cross; and
- the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).
such, the Forum’s IHL Clinic embodies all of the three above-mentioned
objectives: research, teaching and dissemination.
Since 2012, a number of teams initiated research on various areas
of international humanitarian law. Each team consisted of three students, supervised
by one Leiden graduate and one Grotius fellow or associated researcher engaged
in the Forum. These projects cover topics involving the use of certain means of
warfare, questions of humanitarian assistance, possible war crimes in special
conflict areas, as well as a variety of recent problematic issues surrounding
the application and interpretation of international humanitarian law, the
Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.
who are all graduates of the Leiden Law School’s Public International Law
Master’s Program in Public International Law are: Mr. John Doyle LL.M.; Ms. Thyla Fontein LL.M.; Ms. Maryse Hazelzet LL.M., Ms. Delia Spataru LL.M., Ms. Wieteke Theeuwen LLM.; and Ms. Florentine Vos LL.M.
For more information on the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum, please contact Dr. Robert Heinsch