The International Humanitarian Law Institute was established to advance the principles of Due Process and Equality Before the Law in the theory and practice of International Criminal Law.

Due process (procedural fairness) and Equality Before the Law are foundational concepts to which all civilized legal systems aspire. Yet most advanced nation-states adhere only imperfectly to these essential principles, even after thousands of years of experience. International Criminal law, though built upon the experience of these nation-states, is a new concept. Unlike domestic legal systems, it does not arise in an international order where “all nations are created equal.”

The International Humanitarian Law Institute is the only academic center in North America specifically focused on identifying, understanding, minimizing, and perhaps one day, helping to resolve, the contradiction between universal aspirations for international justice, and the impediments to achievement such aspirations posed by unequal international power relationships. The Institute provides an intellectual foundation for considering whether the “condemnatory and adversarial” tribunal model is preferable to the “truth and reconciliation” model, given the inherent inequality between the economic, military and political power of the world’s nation-states and the need for understanding among all people.

What is International Humanitarian Law?
The International Committee of the Red Cross defines International humanitarian law as “a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict.”