2014 International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Student Writing Competition – Call for Papers

The Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (Center) at American University Washington College of Law and the American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict (ASIL) are pleased to announce the Fourth Annual International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Student Writing Competition. The purpose of the Competition is to enhance scholarship in international humanitarian law among students, as well as to deepen their understanding of this important and evolving area of law.

The Competition seeks submissions of academic papers on a particular theme of international humanitarian law (IHL) from students currently enrolled in a law degree program in the United States or abroad. The theme of the 2014 Competition is “International Humanitarian Law and Emerging Technologies.” Papers should focus on the ways in which IHL intersects with emerging technologies such as nanotechnologies, drones, autonomous systems, cyber warfare technologies, etc.

This Competition is part of a multi-pronged initiative to expand and support the teaching and study of IHL among students and professors in which both the Center and ASIL have been deeply involved. In 2007, the Center published a study with the International Committee of the Red Cross on Teaching International Humanitarian Law in US Law Schools. The study identified a growing need for resources to support and expand the teaching of IHL among law faculty, but also a desire to support the interest of students in learning about IHL. The IHL Student Writing Competition promotes and supports student interest and deepening scholarship in IHL by providing students with a tangible way to become more directly involved in the global discourse around IHL. Last year, the Competition received over 40 submissions from 12 different countries.


1. Students must currently be enrolled, as of February 16, 2014, in a law degree program (J.D., LL.M. or equivalent) at an ABA accredited U.S. law school or foreign law school with an equivalent accreditation. In order to verify enrollment, all submissions must be accompanied by a Confirmation of Enrollment form (to be submitted online along with the paper submission or by mail or fax).

2. Students must submit an unpublished, unedited paper written solely by the candidate in English or translated into English (if written in another language).

3. All submissions must be, in substantial part, on the theme “International Humanitarian Law and Emerging Technologies.” For the purposes of this competition, international humanitarian law means that area of international law that regulates the conduct of armed hostilities or armed conflict. The Organizers reserve the right to determine at their own discretion whether or not submissions fall within the scope of this theme. Submissions that fall outside the scope of this theme will not be considered.

4. The papers must not exceed 25 pages, including footnotes. The body should be double-spaced and written in Times New Roman, font size 12. Footnotes should be single-spaced in Times New Roman, font size 10. All margins should be 1 inch (approximately 2.5 cm) each.

5. Applicants attending law schools the United States must cite their sources according to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation . Applicants attending law schools in countries other than the United States must cite their sources either according to The Bluebook or according to the standard or most commonly used legal citation system in their country.

6. Authors must keep copies of all source materials, i.e., photocopies of all pages used from a particular source, and must provide them to the Organizers upon request.

7. Only one submission will be accepted per student. If the Organizers receive more than one paper, none of the student’s submissions will be considered.


1. The Organizers will grant two awards for the two best papers submitted. The Organizers reserve the right to make one award or no award in the event that the submitted articles presented do not meet the minimum requirements and standards as determined by the Organizers. The Award for the two winning authors will consist of:

a. A one-year student membership with the American Society of International Law;

b. The opportunity to present papers at an virtual conference that will be broadcast on the webpage of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law; and

c. A certificate confirming that the student has won the 2014 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition.


The deadline for submissions is Monday, Februrary 16, 2014, by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Papers should be submitted via email to Microsoft Word attachments. Each person submitting a paper must also fill out and submit a Submission Form (click here to download) and Confirmation of Enrollment (click here to download).

Students will receive an email confirmation that their submission was received no later than 24 hours after the submission deadline and should contact the organizers in the event they do not receive a confirmation email.


Click here for the terms and conditions of this competition, as well information the method of notification of winners.


Click here for a list of frequently asked questions and answers.