International Law

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
International law is the legal system of the international community, a community formed essentially by States, although it encompasses other relevant actors, such as international organizations and individuals, with different degrees of active participation. The objective of the course is to lead students to understand the fundamental concepts of such a system: the sources of the law, and the legal subjects; the rules applicable in some of the main areas of the law, such as sovereignty and immunities, the law of the sea and of other international spaces, human rights law and international criminal law; and, finally, the functioning of State responsibility, the regulation of the use of force and the powers of the UN Security Council, the settlement of disputes and the role of international courts., The knowledge of international law, as the legal framework of international relations, is essential to any student willing to grasp their current dynamics.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students are expected to acquire the logic underlying the international legal system, and to be able to apply the concepts learned, and such a logic, to the analysis of specific cases. This objective will be achieved through the direct involvement of students in the analysis of cases decided by the International Court of Justice and other international tribunals, as well as of hypotheticals. This will contribute in strengthening their critical thinking and their ability to communicate orally and in writing, and enabling them to solve new problems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Course syllabus
1. The structure and characters of the International Community. The sources of the law; the law of treaties. International law and national law. The legal subjects: in particular, States, international organizations, individuals.
2. Territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction. The immunities from national jurisdiction: State immunity; diplomatic and consular immunities. The law of international spaces: the law of the sea; air law and outer space law. The international protection of human rights. International humanitarian law. International criminal law.
3. The law of State responsibility. The international regulation of the use of force, the UN and collective security. The peaceful settlement of disputes: diplomatic means; judicial means: the International Court of Justice, other international tribunals.
Teaching methods
During the lectures students will be involved in the preparation of oral or short written presentations on specific issues or cases: these presentations will be held or discussed in class. The best presentations will be awarded with the addition of one or two points to the student's final grade.
Teaching Resources
M. Dixon, Textbook on International Law, 7th ed., Oxford, O.U.P., 2013. For students attending the lectures, supplementary and/or alternative materials will be indicated during the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
- Students attending the lectures: At the end of the first module there will be a written exam for students attending the lectures. This intermediate exam will consist of 6 questions on the first part of the programme, aiming to stimulate the student's capacity to formulate the knowledge acquired in a clear and critical manner and to apply it to concrete cases. 5 of these questions will require short answers (around 5-6 lines), whereas the sixth question will require a longer answer (one page and a half). The grade obtained from this intermediate exam will account for one third of the final grade. The final exam is oral, based on two or three questions aiming to verify the student's ability to understand and to expose topics included in the second and third part of the course, and to articulate proper reasoning on hypothetical case situations. The grade obtained from the final oral exam will account for two thirds of the final grade.
- Students NOT attending the lectures: Final exams are oral. They are based on three or more questions aiming to verify the student's ability to understand and to expose topics included in the first and second part of the programme, and to articulate proper reasoning on hypothetical case situations.
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Please send an email to arrange a meeting.
Wednesday, 9.30 am-12.30 pm, by appointment, in person or on Microsoft Teams (access code: hrauyh5). The new timetable will be applied starting 22 September 2021. The previous office hours will be Thursday 16 September, 9.30 am-12.30 pm.
Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies, Room No. 26, third floor on via Conservatorio 7