September 2017 - August 2018
Application start 15 November 2016
Application end 5 March 2017
Application end (with scholarship) 30 January 2017


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Course Catalogue

International Law

Andrea Bianchi

International law is a discursive practice used in international relations to deal with legal claims. It is best conceived as a language used by a group of people interacting in a social practice. Emphasis is placed on both the underlying structures of the language spoken by these individuals and the social process of interaction whereby the discourse – which aims to gain social acceptance – is created. The goal of this course is to acquaint students with the terms of this discursive practice; to have them apprehend the fundamental structure of the language of international law, and introduce them to the main processes by which the discourse is articulated by the social actors concerned with its practice. Ultimately, the goal is to train students to speak the language of international law competently and teach them how to argue and interact in the different professional settings where it is spoken.

International Refugee Law

Vincent Chetail

Who is a refugee? What is the legal framework currently applicable to those fleeing states affected by armed conflicts like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan? What are the related obligations of European states? This course analyzes the main international and regional legal norms governing refugee protection. It examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law. It also analyzes the definition of a refugee under both the 1951 Geneva Convention and the Common European Asylum System, the principle of non-refoulement as well as asylum procedures. Particular attention is dedicated to the case law of State Parties to the 1951 Geneva Convention.

International Human Rights Law

Andrew Clapham, Marko Milanovic

This course provides a general introduction to international human rights law (IHRL). It examines the origins, foundations and sources of IHRL, as well as its institutions and dedicated enforcement mechanisms. It also covers a number of substantive civil and political rights, such as the right to life, freedom of expression and equality and non-discrimination. In addition, the course deals with several current issues, including the extraterritorial application of human rights treaties and the right to privacy in the digital age. Three related seminars address the human rights obligations of non-state actors, the legality of the fight against ISIS, and the compatibility of arms transfers to Saudi Arabia under the Arms Trade Treaty.

International Criminal Law

Paola Gaeta

This course aims to give students an in-depth knowledge of the most crucial issues of international criminal law. After dealing briefly with the birth and evolution of international criminal law as a branch of public international law with regard to the so-called core crimes, the course focuses on the legal ingredients of each core crime (war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide). It also deals with the various forms of criminal accountability, defences and excuses, and the question of international immunities for state officials. As for the mechanisms for enforcing international criminal law, the course examines the role of international and mixed tribunals and national criminal jurisdictions in repressing international crimes, focusing in particular on the legitimate grounds of criminal jurisdiction under international law and the question of universal criminal jurisdiction.

International Human Rights Law in Times of Armed Conflict

Gloria Gaggioli

Human rights are particularly at risk in times of armed conflict and in the context of the fight against terrorism in its various forms. This course focuses on the specific issues that these situations of emergency entail for the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. In particular, it addresses possible derogations in times of emergency, the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict and the related but distinct issue of the extraterritorial application of human rights law. It then addresses some of the most relevant and affected rights in times of emergency, such as the right to life, the prohibition of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment, the right to liberty and related judicial guarantees/procedural safeguards. It does this by analyzing some of the most prominent human rights case law and practice at both the universal and regional levels. Intricate issues relating to the interplay between human rights law and international humanitarian law are mainstreamed in the various sessions. This course is conceived as interactive and practice-oriented. It aims to provide students with the legal knowledge and the analytical and argumentative skills necessary to understand and apply human rights in armed conflict or other emergency situations.

International Humanitarian Law

Marco Sassòli

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is applicable in armed conflicts and offers – necessarily insufficient – protection to those affected by such inherently inhumane situations. This course aims to provide students with a solid knowledge, through a practical understanding, of IHL, as well as a good command of the main areas of controversy surrounding its applicability and application. The programme covers the nature, purpose and scope of applicability of IHL, its means of implementation, as well as its substantive rules, including the status of combatant and prisoner of war, protection of the wounded and sick, of civilians under the power of the enemy and the rules governing the conduct of hostilities. The learning method of the course is mainly inductive: students discover and discuss IHL rules as they were interpreted and applied in real-life cases taken from contemporary practice. To complement these case studies, Professor Sassòli delivers lectures on the theoretical framework underpinning the given legal and/or humanitarian issue at hand, highlighting particularly controversial subjects.