Humanitarian Law & War Crimes (HL & WC/HumLaw) 

    Course Outline & Expectations 

    Mrs. Hamilton 




    War is regulated by international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of armed conflict. This course will introduce you to the basic rules and principles of war according to the Geneva and Hague Conventions that established humane rules for warfare. Using both historical and contemporary case studies, we will examine the violations of these laws, the devastation caused by war and efforts to provide justice and relief in the aftermath of war. 


    Course Outline: 

    1. An introduction to the humanitarian perspective and  IHL
    2. Violations of IHL
      1. Focus on the use of child soldiers during war
      2. Focus on the use of rape and sexual violence during war
      3. Focus on the use of illegal weapons of war 
      4. Focus on Genocide
    3. Refugees and the Consequences of War
    4. Efforts at Justice in the aftermath of violations of IHL
    5. Final project

    What you should expect from the course: 

    • Heavy, spirit-crushing content about the worst the world has to offer. 
    • Happy, spirit-lifting videos to remind you that there is good in the world (and it usually involves puppies and kittens) 
    • Many opportunities to reflect on your own being and humanity. If you are not willing to do this, drop this class. 


    What you should expect from me:

    • I am here to teach you. I will provide you with clear, organized, and effective instruction.
    • I am here to support you. I will never ask you to do anything that I won’t help you with. 
    • I want you to be successful in class and in life. Everything I do in class is intended to help you have an easier and better life. 


    What I expect from you: 

    • Show up with a willingness to learn and participate as well as engage in meaningful self-reflection 
    • Check and read emails and Google Classroom posts and communicate any concerns with me 
    • Complete your work on time



    • This is an elective. You CHOSE to be in this class. We have class every other day for just one semester. It is my expectation that you show up. 
    • If for any reason you are unable to attend class, you are responsible for any and all material. Contact a classmate or me for details. 
    • Do not be late for my class. Showing up in life on time is important. 



    • Grading will be based on a total point system. You are encouraged to review your grades on the student portal to monitor your progress and check my bookkeeping. Please see me with any concerns. 
    • There are no tests in this class. It is essential that you complete all classwork and assignments. 



    • Be prepared for class. Be sure to have the HL & WC Google Classroom (GC) open. 
    • Expect daily classwork in the form of R & Rs (Reflect & Respond) to be assigned, turned in during class and graded by the next class. If the time allotted for your R & R is inadequate during class, you may hand it in by 8 am the next day. Note, this variance is for R & Rs only (not assignments for which there will be no extensions) 
    • Positive and respectful participation in all activities is expected. 



    • Expect homework assignments classes other than most Fridays. I do not give busy work. Assignments are aimed at giving you greater exposure to the war and its consequences as well as a greater understanding of you as a person. 
    • Late work will not be accepted. This is because you will have your work returned to you the next class and we will be using it. (See under important notes if ill) 
    • All assignments must be completed independently unless otherwise stated. Copying or plagiarism will result in zeros for ALL participating parties, including the person(s) who did the work and allowed someone else to use it. Don’t people in this position - instead, ask me for help. It’s my job and I’m happy to do it.  


    Important notes: 


    • If you are ill or for some reason are unable to complete any assignment on time, it is your responsibility to email me BY 9 PM THE DAY BEFORE IT IS DUE. All work will be available on Google Classroom. Failure to communicate with me on time will result in work not being accepted. 


    • Due to the nature of Humanitarian Law & War Crimes, some videos and readings include highly graphic images, subject matter and explicit language that some may find disturbing. I will warn you prior to viewing such material. Please honor your emotional being and communicate any concerns with me. Remember, I’m here to help. Your parents/guardians must complete the permission slip to stay in this class. 


    • If zoom crashes, class is not over. Please try again in a few minutes. Within five minutes, I will communicate with you on Google Classroom and/or email. 


    With a substitute (when we return to the classroom): 

    • I expect that you will cooperate 100% and be polite, helpful and respectful. 
    • If you or a member of your class choose to act otherwise, expect disciplinary action. 


    Typical Day in the class: 

    • Class will always start with a greeting exchange. 
    • Three good things. I will call on different people (or volunteers!) to say something that is good in your world. It may be little or big,  a thing, an idea, a place, a verb, etc. It may not be a person by name. All will contribute to this activity throughout the semester. 
    • I will answer questions on the assignments
    • You will turn in your assignment in Google Classroom. 
    • I will explain the new assignment. 
    • I will explain the day’s R & R and give you time to complete it. 
    • We will review material and explore new material via activities, discussions and/or video clips.
    •  I will close class with a proper closing. 


    Communication: It is very important that you communicate any concerns or questions with me. The best way is to email me at: shamilto@nhart.org (note there is no ‘n’ at the end of my name)

    If email is not available, you can text me at 315.734.5532.

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