International Law & International Humanitarian Law

Geneva has long been one of the world’s capitals of international law. The presence of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and many other international organizations and NGOs make it a buzzing place in the field. This breeding ground naturally led to the focus and strength of the University of Geneva in international law. This summer course provides one of the easiest ways to have access to that world.

This course is made for students who are intrigued by international law or marvel at its day-to-day interactions with international politics, affairs and business. This is the opportunity for such students to get a crash course to introduce them to this fast moving, intellectually thrilling and profoundly humane field of the law. The course is shaped so as to bring out the best of current issues in international law, while remaining accessible to non-specialists and seeking to broach the main principles of “International Law 101”, so as to allow enthusiasts to go further.

The 2020 programme comprises the following courses (subject to minor modifications and adjustments):

WEEK 1 and 2

22 June - 3 July 2020


  • Foundational courses:
    - Sustainable development: 7h
    - Non-state actors: 7h
    - Politics of International Law: : 7h
    - International dispute settlement: 7h
  • Specific insights:
    - International investment protection: a failed experiment?: 3h
    - The challenge of climate change: 3h
    - The South China Sea Dispute: 3h
    - International law and diplomats: 3h
    - International law and Gender: 3h
  • Equivalence of 6 ECTS


6 - 10 July 2020


  • Course content:
    - International Humanitarian Law today: 4h
    - Refugee law: 4h
    - Challenges of the International Criminal Court: 4h
    - Terrorism: 4h
    - Targeted killings: 4h
    - International humanitarian law and human rights: 4h
  • Equivalence of 3 ECTS

WEEK 1, 2 and 3

22 June - 10 July 2020



  • Equivalence of 9 ECTS

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, participants will have a general understanding of some of the cutting-edge issues in international law today. This will allow them to either orient their future studies or refresh and extend existing knowledge.

Target Audience

Upper-year undergraduates, Master's degree students, Professionals. Course taught in English. Professionals can choose to take only specific parts of the program. For details on this possibility, please contact us.


Participants are evaluated based on a take-home paper, to be written within a month after the end of the summer school.

Course Credits

Equivalence of 6 ECTS (weeks 1 and 2) or 3 ECTS (week 3) or 9 ECTS (weeks 1, 2, 3)

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for their course if they satisfy attendance.

Please note that this is not an official University of Geneva transcript, as Geneva Summer Schools courses are not accredited University of Geneva courses. It is the students’ responsibility to validate their course for credit at their home university before commencing the summer school, as specified in our Regulations.

Grading Scheme

Swiss grading scheme. No grade for participation in class.

Please note: Changes to the draft program may be made at any time prior to the start of the course.

Tuition Fees:

Module 1 (weeks 1 and 2)
24 June - 5 July 2019
Module 2 (week 3 alone)
8 - 12 July 2019
Module 3 (weeks 1, 2 and 3)
24 June - 12 July 2019
International Law

Additional module in
Humanitarian Law alone

International Law
with additional module in
Humanitarian Law
CHF 2100*

CHF 1300* CHF 2600*

Tuition for UNIGE students:

Module 1 (weeks 1 and 2)
24 June - 5 July 2019
Module 2 (week 3 alone)
8 - 12 July 2019
Module 3 (weeks 1, 2 and 3)
24 June - 12 July 2019
International Law

Additional module in
Humanitarian Law alone

International Law
with additional module in
Humanitarian Law
CHF 450*

CHF 350* CHF 550*

*Including 100 CHF non refundable administrative fees

Course Directors:

Professor Makane Mbengue

Faculty of Law - University of Geneva

Makane Moïse Mbengue is Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva. Professor Mbengue is also a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po Paris (School of Law). He holds a Ph.D. in Public International Law from the University. He acts as a professor for courses in international law organized by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Prof. Mbengue acts as counsel in disputes before international courts and tribunals.

Professor Thomas Schultz

Faculty of Law, University of Geneva and King's College London

Professor Schultz is primarily interested in transnational business law (a subset of commercial law taken in a broad sense), for which he combines approaches taken from commercial law, international law (private and public), the area of dispute settlement, and legal philosophy. His four books deal with questions regarding the notion of transnational stateless law, international arbitration, e-commerce and Internet law, and the rule of law. Other publications range over investment arbitration, the history and general theory of private international law, consumer protection, and a few other areas. His work has been awarded the Jubilee Prize of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He has taught in private and public international law, dispute resolution, contract law, and legal philosophy at King's, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, the University of Geneva, the Catholic University of Lille, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He has also taught and advised business executives and government officials in various business areas, with an emphasis on dispute resolution, investment law, foreign investment policy, and oil & gas.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement (OUP).

Research Interests

  • Commercial Law
  • International Arbitration (commercial and investment)
  • International Law (private and public)
  • Transnational Law
  • Legal Philosophy

Giuseppe Bongiovanni, Italy, IL & IHL Summer School 2019

« Diplomacy is the art of showing hostility with kindness, indifference with interest and friendship with caution »

André Maurois said « Diplomacy is the art of showing hostility with kindness, indifference with interest and friendship with caution ». I am a third-year law student at Bocconi University (Milan) and I chose to attend this summer school due to my interest in the world of public international law and diplomacy. The classes didn’t focus on public law, but they were extremely engaging and it was great to meet professors from all over the world. Classes take place in a building without air conditioning so be prepared to bring a fan with you! Geneva is a calm and beautiful city (notice: extremely expensive as well!). It is also very international and full of different things to do. One of the things I liked the most was the visit to the UNHQ, it is an amazing place! I also met people from all over the world and it was fantastic to share our experiences.

Babatunde Onabajo, UK, International Law Summer School 2016

Jus cogens, lex specialis, ex aequo et bono – these are just some of the fancy new words I now know because of the International Law program I took at the University of Geneva.

An economist by training, the International Law programme helped me to understand everything from the treatment of non-state actors to the legal implications of sustainable development.

Although having prior familiarity with the law is obviously advantageous, I found quite a number of the lectures were not beyond my comprehension despite having no experience with international law. But perhaps greater than the lectures themselves were the lecturers, who generally taught in an engaging and light-hearted way.

Similarly, I was fortunate enough to have made a number of friends on the course, and I was extremely impressed by the overall amiableness and friendliness of fellow students. The university is situated in the heart of Geneva in an extremely safe yet busy and lively environment. If there were any disadvantage in choosing to study in Geneva, it is the cost of doing so: much to my amazement, and speaking as a native Londoner, I actually managed to find a city that is actually more expensive than London itself! But that besides, if money is no object to you, I would definitely recommend studying at a summer course at the University of Geneva to broaden your horizons, enlighten your mind, make great friends and learn about a new culture.

Juliana, Switzerland


I am very glad to have met very Kindly and friendly people at the University of Geneva.

Thanks a lot to Christa; as organiser and administrator she was the best. The Course were amazing, except the last one. but it was only the last one. Aside from this point was everything very adorable. I enjoyed Geneva ambiance, which is really very international and its atmosphere is really about international law. Thanks a lot! (GoAbroad Review)