24 and 25 January 2013 | International Humanitarian Assistance and International Law

International humanitarian assistance, entailing the provision of emergency aid to those in need, may take place in situations of crisis. Such situations include natural or manmade disaster, armed conflict or occupation.


As a concept, international humanitarian assistance is receiving widespread attention from international organizations, NGOs, and other actors involved in the practice of aid delivery, yet it deserves more attention from scholars of public international law as there are many legal issues, ambiguities, and questions that arise time and again when humanitarian assistance is needed, or when it is being delivered.

These issues relate, inter alia, to the rights of the people in need of assistance, to the role of the affected states, to the specific circumstances in which humanitarian assistance is provided, to the duties of entities providing assistance as well as to the access of goods or relief personnel. Extensive research is still required to address these problems, in the hopes of making the provision of humanitarian assistance more effective.

The conference aims at bringing legal scholars who have been pioneering the field of international humanitarian assistance together with scholars of public international law who have not been working in this field but are nonetheless interested. Keeping this in mind, the conference will consist of multiple thematic panels, i.e. on ‘Humanitarian assistance and humanitarian law’; ‘Humanitarian assistance and international disaster response laws’, ‘Humanitarian assistance and human rights law’; and ‘Humanitarian assistance and other fields of law’, allowing for both scholars in the field and scholars from outside the direct field of international humanitarian assistance to participate. Furthermore, the contributions and findings of the conference will be published in a thematic edition of a legal journal.

Speakers include:

Em. Prof. Yoram Dinstein (Tel Aviv University)
Prof. dr. Horst Fischer (Leiden University)
Prof. dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (Ruhr Universität Bochum)
Dr. iur. Heike Spieker (German Red Cross / Ruhr Universität Bochum)
Dr. Eduardo Valencia Ospina (Special Rapporteur International Law Commission) 
Emilie E. Kuijt LL.M. (Leiden University)
Stefanie Jansen, LL.M. (De Volder & Jansen International Law Consultancy/ Tilburg University)

Conference programme

The four themes of the conference are divided over two days:

Day 1 – 24 January 2013
Theme 1: Humanitarian Assistance & International Humanitarian Law
Theme 2: Humanitarian Assistance & Implementing International Disaster Response Laws

Day 2 – 25 January 2013
Theme 3: Humanitarian Assistance, Human Rights & The Work of the ILC
Theme 4: Humanitarian Assistance - Case Studies

The complete programme.


Registration for the conference is open to everyone. A registration fee of €25,- is asked for participation which covers access to the conference, conference materials, coffee and tea, lunch, and drinks, all on both days. 

Registration is possible until January 20th. Should you like to register after this date, please contact the organization of the Conference.

Venue and accommodations

The conference will be held at the venue Sterrewacht in room C104. The address of this venue is: (Kaiserstraat 63 / Sterrewachtlaan 11, 2311 GP Leiden).

If you need any accommodation, we can recommend the historical Hotel De Doelen, conveniently located at Rapenburg in Leiden. For inquiries please call +31 (0)71 5120527 or send an e-mail (please mention that you plan to visit the conference, as your breakfast will be included in your stay).

For more information, please visit the website.


For questions, more information and updates, please contact us.

This conference has been sponsored by

Leiden University Fund.

and the Center for Transboundary Legal Development (Tilburg Law School)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Last Modified: 21-01-2013