|"No easy answers"|
In Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL), students are likely to raise questions that even the teacher will have difficulty in answering, not because of a lack of information but because straightforward answers do not exist. It might be useful to designate a place where difficult questions raised by students can be recorded, and call it the "No easy answers" corner. Even though these questions might not have an immediate response, possible answers might emerge at a later stage during the course. Have students review the questions in the "No easy answers" corner from time to time to see whether some of them can now be answered.
The IHL Guide and the ICRC booklet entitled International humanitarian law: Answers to your Questions might be useful resources.
Point out that extreme conditions prevail during situations of armed conflict, and that in such circumstances it is difficult to account for the behaviour of individuals. Therefore, many questions about such situations do not have easy answers. Such questions should, nevertheless, be addressed before too much time passes, in order to avoid discouraging interested and thoughtful students.
Leading the group
The following points might be helpful in dealing with difficult questions:
Dealing with difficulties
Assessing student learning
The following could be used as the basis for a debate or for writing an essay.
In his book, The Law of Nations, published in 1758, Swiss jurist, Emmerich de Vattel, offers an interesting point of view:
This is how he summarized the rules by which warfare should be regulated:
"All damage done to the enemy unnecessarily, every act of hostility which does not tend to procure victory and bring the war to a conclusion (…) is condemned by the law of nature."
—This extract from The Law of Nations, translated by Joseph Chitty, was taken from The Conduct of War, 1789-1961 by Major-General J.F.C. Fuller.
Ask students the following questions:
At the end of each module, revisit the "No easy answers" corner and point out the questions that have been answered and those that have not.