International human rights law

A.Y. 2020/2021
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
First semester

In the first semester, classes will be delivered in distance learning modality. They will be live-streamed on Microsoft Teams, following the lessons timetable. All classes will be recorded and will be available on the online platform.

Students will be informed as soon as possible, through the ARIEL website of the Course, if there will be a possibility to attend in person some classes at the University premises. This possibility will depend upon the evolution of the emergency and related safety measures, the availability of classrooms, and the needs and preferences of students. In any case, all classes will be live-streamed and recorded and will be available on the online platform, in order to meet the needs of those unable or unwilling to attend in person. In this case, students willing to attend classes will be required to reserve their seat through a special app and to strictly comply with the COVID protocol (facemask-wearing, social distancing, hands disinfection, etc ).

The course will alternate and combine lectures and seminar teaching and will be tailored to match the learning necessities of students attending physically and remotely alike. Classes may require prior readings and include pre-recorded components.

To cope with possible connection and/or time zone issues, simultaneous course attendance (i.e. connection on the platform at the scheduled time) will not be mandatory. However, the Course will be based on class interaction. Therefore, students are strongly advised to strive to be able to attend the online classes and will be required to provide reasons for the inability to do so.

The course programme is unchanged. However, the specific contents of classes will adapt to the teaching methods outlined above.

Reference materials for each class will be adjusted to the distance learning modality and uploaded to the Ariel course website.

Class attendance and participation will be taken into account only as an additional component of the assessment.
An oral exam may take place instead of the written test unless all students will be able to physically attend an exam at the University premises or the University will provide a platform for written exams by remote. Updated information will be given through the ARIEL website of the Course in due time.
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
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
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)
- Collective enforcement of human rights? The responsibility to protect and humanitarian intervention
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

In the second part of the Course, workshops on selected topics will be organised. The topics will be tailored to students' preferences and can include the following:
- 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 (70% of classes).
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 multiple-choice questions and one or more open questions, to be chosen from a roaster;
(**/20) - participation in class and activities that form an integral part of the course, including the writing and presentation of a short essay (1 500 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
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