Studying Law at Roma Tre

Academic Year 2018-2019

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Fall Semester (October 1 - December 21, 2018)


International Humanitarian Law Legal Clinic 2018

Prof. Giulio Bartolini

Fall Semester
7 CFUs - ECTS,
Wednesdays, 14.30-16 room 4, Edificio Tommaseo
Thursdays, 14.30-16 room 4, Edificio Tommaseo

Course description:  
The “International Humanitarian Law Legal Clinic” (IHL Legal Clinic) is a 7 CFU optional course. The IHL Legal Clinic permits selected students involved in the International Humanitarian Law course at the Roma Tre Law Department both to cooperate on pro bono projects with leading international and national institutions operating in this area and acquire significant skills and a humanitarian-oriented approach beneficial for their competences, future activities and civil awareness.
The IHL Legal Clinic aims to put students to the test of humanitarian and legal challenges raised by contemporary armed conflicts and other crisis through cooperative projects with relevant stakeholders aimed to support their research, dissemination and training activities related to international humanitarian law and other areas of law relevant in crisis scenarios.

So far students involved in the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic have provided support to international and domestic stakeholders as: the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the NATO SHAPE Legal Office and the Italian Red Cross, IHL Commission. Contacts are in place for enlarging activities to other international organisations and non-Governmental organisations.
An overview of relevant information concerning current and past projects of the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic can be found below.
As for the 2018-2019 academic year planned projects will involve, for instance, cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the NATO SHAPE Legal Office. Further contacts with additional stakeholders are in place.

Students participating at the IHL Legal Clinic will also qualify for a 3-months internship with the Italian Red Cross for their activities carried out with the IHL Legal Clinic thus providing students a significant opportunity for their future professional activities.

On 16-19th December, Roma Tre University will host the ‘IHL Legal Clinics Exchange Conference’ bringing to Rome students and teaching staff of partner IHL legal clinics (Universities of Emory, IDC, Leiden) and representatives from the ICRC for a series of IHL events aimed to foster networking, sharing experiences and manage lectures focused on humanitarian challenges raised by armed conflicts with the contribution of practitioners, armed forces and academics. Students part of the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic will also benefit of these events.

Selection of students:
Participation at the IHL Legal Clinics is subjected to a selection. Students enrolled in the
2018-2019 edition of the course on International Humanitarian Law and past students of the
same course could apply for being part of the IHL Legal Clinic. The IHL Legal Clinic is open to the participation of Roma Tre students and other foreign students participating in exchange programs at Roma Tre (eg. Erasmus program).

The colloquium will aim to assess the interest and capacity of candidates to take part in this
innovative project A good command of English is a preferential asset. Additional language
skills will be an added value.

The selection process will take place on Wednesday 10th October at 14.30 (room to be

Students interested to take part in the selection process are required to send an email to  by Tuesday 9th October. In this email students should include a letter of motivation and provide information on:
- their current academic career (year of study, number of passed exams, average grade);
- final mark in the International Humanitarian Law exam (for past students of the course);
- previous exams related to international law issues (eg. Public international law, International Organizations; Human Rights Law; Diritto internazionale ed europeo dei disastri; etc.);
- past participation in other legal clinics at Roma Tre University or elsewhere;
- knowledge of foreign languages.

Course Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, students should be proficient the following subject areas and skills:
- have a more in-depth and practically-oriented knowledge of international humanitarian law;
- argue persuasively on matters of international humanitarian law;
- develop team work skills and autonomous capacities to manage with complex tasks.

Course Learning Activities
The IHL Legal Clinic is inspired by a ‘learning by doing’ approach permitting students to develop their competences in legal research, drafting, writing and organization of activities on the basis of knowledges acquired in their academic curricula, in particular through the International Humanitarian Law course at Roma Tre University, to facilitate the transfer of theoretical analysis into a practical and humanitarian-oriented perspective. Creativity and autonomy is encouraged as well as the capacity to cooperate in small working teams able to act through largely independent research and writing.

Assessment tools
The final exam will be based on the researches commissioned to students of the IHL Legal Clinic by leading institutions actively involved in the area of international humanitarian law. Students will also be assessed on the basis of activities carried out during the legal clinic.

Attendance policy
Attendance is compulsory.

Course textbook(s)
Materials helpful for carrying out commissioned researches will be distributed in class.

Course Schedule
Students of the IHL Legal Clinic and teaching staff will meet regularly at least once per week.
Meetings are planned on Wednesdays and Thursdays 14.30-16.

Past Projects of the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic

The Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic has been involved in research and practice-oriented projects in cooperation with the international and national leading institutions in this area. Main past and undergoing projects are:

- “International Humanitarian Law in Action”: Through this ongoing project the International Committee of the Red Cross aims to identify real case-studies documenting compliance with international humanitarian law through a review of practice related to recent armed conflicts. Students are requested to scrutinize a series of armed conflicts in order to identify through openly available documents cases of positive applications of relevant IHL provisions by States and organized armed groups. This research is carried out by the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic since 2016 in cooperation with a network of other IHL Legal Clinics based at Leiden University, Emory Law School and Radzyner Law School. On the basis of materials elaborated by students, the ICRC has launched a specific database ( The ICRC has received positive feed-backs on this new instrument, to be used in training and dissemination activities for armed forces/organized armed groups, students and civil society, and has made reference to it in the 2018 statement to the UN Security Council open debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict.

- Cooperation with the the Italian Red Cross, IHL Commission for the creation of mobile phone applications devoted to IHL. The first one, namely the ‘QUIZ DIU’, has been structured in 60 questions and answers to test IHL knowledge. The mobile app is available in two versions for Android and Apple system and was developed by the Roma Tre IHL Legal Clinic in cooperation with volunteers and IHL trainers of the Italian Red Cross. This application permits the user to review his/her expertise on main areas of international humanitarian law (eg. sources, definition of armed conflicts, targeting process, protection of persons hors de combat, implementation) through a friendly-based approach, permitting for instance to get virtual awards once one level of the game is completed.  Through this mobile app it was possible to create an innovative and interactive technological tool to disseminate humanitarian values and legal knowledge related to IHL particularly helpful for the dissemination and training activities of the Italian Red Cross with the Italian Armed Forces, schools and the general public audience. More than 2.000 downloads have been recorded in the first months after its launch.

- Partnership with the NATO Legal Office at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe). Through this high-level partnership, students can cooperate in the activities of LAWFAS (Legal Advisors Worktop Functional Area System), an on-line platform managed within the NATO’s website (as an intranet system accessible through credentials) aimed to facilitate document researches and ensure an easy access to all the relevant information for the legal community of several thousands of military officers and legal advisers linked with this on-line system from NATO countries and partner countries. Students are involved in the elaboration of desk-studies on relevant developments in international humanitarian law, as complemented by document materials, finally uploaded in the LAWFAS website ( and circulate to the NATO legal community through specific newsletters. Reports elaborated so far have addressed “Recent Legal Developments concerning Humanitarian Access in Armed Conflict” and “Legal  issues on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)”. Other reports will be arranged in the 2018 Fall semester.

- Cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Disaster Law Programme. Students have been involved in the elaboration of a desk study (50 pages, plus attached documents) on the Italian disaster management legislation, institutions and practice for the forthcoming “Research for the Checklist on Law and Disaster Preparedness and Response”, to be presented by the IFRC at the 33rd International Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Checklist will provide States guidance on legal, institutional and practical measures to be adopted in the disaster cycle permitting them to modify and integrate their domestic legal system in light of international best practice identified in this instrument on the basis of a comprehensive review of national experiences as highlighted in desk reports. An additional project aimed to contribute to the fourth IDRL Implementation Report, to be elaborated to the IFRC’s report to be presented at the 33th International Conference, will be managed in the 2018 Fall Semester to collect examples on challenges raised by humanitarian assistance in case of disaster. 

- Partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Italian Red Cross to updated, as for the period 2008-2016, the Italian practice on international humanitarian law for the database on Customary International Humanitarian Law. Students have elaborated a desk report (70 pages) providing relevant information, translations and documents the Italian practice (case-law, official statements, legislation, military documents, etc.) addressing some of the 161 customary rules identified by the ICRC. This report will permit the ICRC and the Lauterpacht Centre of the University of Cambridge to update the section devoted to Italy.

- Ongoing project with the the Italian Red Cross, IHL Commission for a ‘IHL Sources App’.
This multilingual mobile phone app is currently developed by a team of ITC experts in
cooperation with students involved in the IHL Legal Clinic who have been responsible, in
cooperation with academic staff, for arranging and making available in Italian, English,
French and Spanish main IHL treaties (Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocols, treaties on
weapon systems, status of international criminal tribunals, relevant national legislation) and
customary rules. The ‘IHL-APP’ will be freely available through main app platforms for
Android and Apple systems. The ‘IHL Sources App’ will be launched in Fall 2018


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