Public health and sustainable development

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at:
- setting the international health law framework (norms and actors);
- exploring the synergies between the SDG no. 3 and the right to health;
- looking at the right to health "in action", through an analysis of high-profile lawsuits before international, regional and national courts;
- outlining the interplay between human right law and other rules of international law, including international trade law, intellectual property rights, and investment law, in the field of health protection;
- examining the impact of WTO rules, and investment regulation, on the right to health;
- assessing the interaction between health and rules of international law aimed at protecting different interests, building on the case study of the WTO panel Report on Australian Tobacco Plain Packaging (TPP) measures.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

- have familiarity with public health governance at the international level;
- have advanced knowledge of the right to health under international human rights law;
- understand and evaluate critically the solutions given in high-profile health-related cases before international, regional and national courts;
- understand the rationale and function of intellectual property rights under the TRIPS;
- develop an in-depth insight into the interplay between human right law and other rules of international law, including international trade law, intellectual property rights, investment law;
- learn how to read and interpret complex health-related decisions adopted by international courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the International Court of Justice and the WTO DSBs
- acquire and use written and oral communication skills as regards the issues dealt with in the course and use them to build solid legal arguments using appropriate legal concepts and language
- develop a method of independent research and study of the topics dealt with in the course, by learning how to search and use primary sources, case-law, and scholarship.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Should the emergency measures for COVID-19 be still in place at the time the course will be held (second semester), lectures will be taught online (Microsoft Teams). Specific instructions will be uploaded on the ARIEL website.
Course syllabus
The course purports to offer an advanced analysis of selected issues concerning public health and sustainable development from the perspective of public international law. The course (42 hours) is structured in two modules.
The first and main part of the course (30 hours), 'Module 1: Health as a Human Right: Norms, Actors, and Responsibility', explores key issues of public health, with a particular focus on the international human rights law framework. It consists of three parts:
Part I ('General Introduction') outlines the relevant norms aimed at protecting the right to health, and the international actors involved in this field.
Part II ('Epidemics and Disasters Law') delves into the prevention, preparedness and response of epidemics and other disaster events (whether man-made or natural), by examining case-studies and how the different set of rules interact with each other (i.e. the WHO legal framework, the 2005 International Health Regulations, the ILC 2016 Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, the ILC 2001 Draft Articles on the Prevention of Transboundary Harm from Hazardous Activities). Particular attention will be devoted to the managing of pandemic diseases, in light of the most recent pandemic outbreaks (Ebola, SARS, MERS, Zika, and COVID-19).
Part III ('Right to Health in Action') looks into high-profile health-related disputes before international, regional and national courts. By analyzing public health litigation, students will be able to grasp the content of the right to health, its synergies with the notion of Sustainable Development, the interaction between different legal regimes, and the balance between competing interests.

The second part of the course (12 hours), 'Module 2: Health and Intellectual Property Rights', offers a cursory insight on the interplay between the right to health and other rules of international law, namely intellectual property rights under the WTO law. The aim is to assess whether and to what extent the latter rules impinge on the right to health.
Prerequisites for admission
A sound knowledge of international law is highly recommended.
Teaching methods
Class attendance is mandatory (75% of the total classes).
The didactic method combines both traditional approach (lecturing by the Professor and content-oriented) and more informal or interactive methods (mock trials, group works and presentations by students).
Teaching Resources
The syllabus available on-line (ARIEL platform) contains a list of reading materials both mandatory and suggested.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students are evaluated through interim written exams taken at the end of the two modules, and through individual presentations and group works.
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
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