Home » Strategic Implications of Human Rights and Rule of Law 2023
Strategic Implications of Human Rights and Rule of Law 2023
HR/ROL 2023

Human rights and the rule of law are cornerstones of liberal democracies. As such, the HR/ROL course seeks to identify and develop methodologies and techniques that help:

  • understand and analyze the complex topics of human rights,
  • improve human right policy writing, and
  • facilitate and accelerate the acceptance of human rights norms within the security and defense sectors of democratic systems.

This course is tailored in response to the defense policy goals of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the objectives of the Combatant Commands; particularly those related to the critical mission of the US Government and the Department of Defense to strengthen whole-of-government approaches to the promotion of democratic accountability, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.



Application Period:
15 Nov 2022 -
15 Jan 2023
Online Phase:
20 Mar 2023 -
31 Mar 2023
Active Phase Dates:
17 Apr 2023 -
28 Apr 2023


Designed for government and non-government officials professionally engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning human rights or international humanitarian law, the learning objectives of this course are to deepen the participants’ understanding and analysis of complex topics of human rights, the rule of law, international humanitarian law, military professionalism, the law of armed conflict, and transitional justice. The course will also examine issues such as the use of military force to promote human rights; the development of international criminal courts, truth commissions, and other instruments of transitional justice; the intersection of humanitarian and human rights law, with an introduction to war crimes, crimes against humanity and the specific crime of genocide; the use of the military in domestic law enforcement operations; human rights considerations involving globalization and transnational corporations; and the human rights dimensions of terrorism.


This is a four-week course, with a two-week online phase and two-week in-person phase. Participants use National Defense University's (NDU) distance learning system Blackboard, to download reading material, submit assignments and participate in video conferences. The in-person phase is conducted using a combination of individual study, discussions of the readings, small-group discussions and panels, case studies and exercises.


Candidates must be professionally engaged in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies concerning human rights or international humanitarian law, coming from the following institutions/activities:

  • Personnel who work directly on human rights issues for the nation’s security forces.
  • Government personnel who work on human rights issues in organizations other than the military or police (e.g., Ministry of Justice, national legislature, military war colleges, etc.).
  • Personnel from civilian organizations that focus on human rights, including non-government organizations (NGO), academic institutions, and think tanks.
  • Police and active-duty military officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and above, and senior non-commissioned officers and advisors in command positions.

In accordance with Department of Defense policy, citizens of countries with designated income levels established by the World Bank are not eligible for scholarships. At this time, this restriction applies to the following Western Hemisphere nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. Citizens of these countries may still apply to courses, but in a self-funded status.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The HR/ROL course is conducted in Spanish. There is simultaneous interpretation from English during some plenary sessions. Minimum professional reading skills are desired for candidates to read theoretical and conceptual materials. English speaking skills are not required.


Dr. William Godnick
Dr. William Godnick
Course Director