International human rights law

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course illustrates the origins, functioning, and limits of the international systems of protection of human rights, within the United Nations and the Council of Europe. The course will cover both substantive and procedural issues. A special attention will be given to human rights most relevant for the attainement of Sustainable Development Goals
Expected learning outcomes
On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the international human rights framework, its origins, and limits
- Demonstrate capacity to assess how specific human rights may be asserted, violated, and enforced
- Critically evaluate the relationship between international human rights law and SDGs
- Demonstrate understanding of the role of lawyers in human rights protection, also in relation with the SDGs
- Demonstrate advanced skills in legal research, evaluation, oral and written communication, and advocacy.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
1. The protection of human rights in international law: an overview
2. The role of States, international human rights institutions, and civil society
- The State, sovereignty, and subsidiarity
- The United Nations and human rights
- Regional organizations: the Council of Europe
- NGOs and International Human Rights Law
3. The sources of international human rights law:
- HR Treaties: interpretation, the territorial scope of application, reservations, and derogations
- HR as general norms: custom, general principles of international law, and jus cogens
- Soft-law and human rights
4. State responsibility for the violation of human rights
- Inter-state procedures: the erga omnes (partes) character of obligations;
- The individual complaint procedures (UN committees and ECtHR)
- Redress and Sanctions
5. Compliance and monitoring mechanisms
- The UN Charter-based monitoring mechanism: universal periodic review and special procedures
- The UN treaty-based monitoring mechanism: Reporting obligations
6. The substantive obligations arising from international human rights norms
- Obligations to respect (absolute vs relative rights)
- Obligations to protect
- Obligations to fulfil

- The prohibition of discrimination
- Human rights and the environment
- Hate speech and freedom of expression in the digital era
- Human rights in the rescue operations of migrants at sea
- SDGs and international human rights law

A detailed syllabus will be uploaded on the Course's page in the ARIEL platform
Prerequisites for admission
Students of the LM in Sustainable Development must have passed all the exams of the first year.
Other students must have a basic knowledge of public international law.
Teaching methods
Attendance of the course is compulsory.
Students will be required to do preliminary readings (mainly from the textbook) in advance of classes. Classes will alternate traditional lectures and learning-by-doing exercises (case-study discussions, moots, group work).
Teaching Resources
D. Shelton, 'Advanced Introduction to International Human Rights Law', Cheltenham (UK): E. Elgar, 2014.

A. Clapham, 'Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction' (2nd edn), OUP, 2015
Ph. Alston and R. Goodman (eds), International Human Rights (2nd edn), OUP, 2013
O. de Schutter, International Human Rights Law (3rd edn), CUP, 2019

Additional reading materials for attending students will be indicated/uploaded on the Course's page in the ARIEL platform
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final mark/grade will be expressed in **/30, composed by:
(**/10) - result of a written exam (held at the end of the "general part"), composed of ten multiple-choice questions and one open question, to be chosen from a roaster of three;
(**/20) - participation in class and activities that form an integral part of the course, including the writing and presentation of a short essay (3.000 words) on an assigned topic or case in one of the workshops.
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Pitea Cesare
Educational website(s)
Wednesday 9:00-11:00 AM, preferably by appointment
Dip. Dir. Pubblico It. e Sovr., Groun Floor, via Festa del Perdono 7, or Microsoft Teams