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LUISS Guido Carli

Diritto internazionale - Canale D


ProfessorPietro Pustorino / Silvia Scarpa
Course code694
General Discipline (SSD)IUS/13
Course Year2
SemesterI Semestre
Teaching LanguageEnglish
Total Workload195
Total Lesson Hours60
Course ContentsThe course introduces students to the basic principles of Public International Law and to the main challenges faced by this discipline today. After having discussed about the origins and foundations of Public International Law, the Course analyses the main subjects in this field – including, in particular States, International Organizations, individuals, and other sui generis entities. The sources of international law are identified and the hierarchy existing among them is discussed, focusing, in particular, on the specific role of peremptory norms of international law (jus cogens rules). The Course also analyses some relevant areas of public international law, including inter alia the use of force in the international legal order (ius ad bellum), the role of the United Nations and the collective security system, the law of the sea, the international protection of human rights, international humanitarian law (ius in bello), international criminal law, and international environmental law. Finally, the consequences of the breaches of international law and the implementation of international rules within national systems are studied.
Reference BooksStudents can choose between the two following textbooks:
• Either: Klabbers J., International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2013) ISBN: 9780521144063.
• Or: M. Dixon, Textbook on International Law (OUP, 7th Ed., 2013) ISBN: 9780199574452.

Other compulsory reading materials:
Akande D., “International Organizations” in Evans M. D. (ed.) International Law (Oxford University Press, 2010) p. 276 – 281.
Cassese A., “The Hierarchy of Rules in International Law: the Role of Jus Cogens” in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 198 – 212.
Jensen O., “Limits of the Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean” 2/4 ESIL Reflection (2013) available at
Ronzitti N., “The Enrica Lexie Incident: Law of the Sea and Immunity of State Officials Issues” XXII Italian Yearbook of International Law (2012), available at
Winkler S., “Taiwan’s UN Dilemma: To Be or not To Be” 9 Taiwan-US Quarterly Analysis (2012) available at
Course Formative ObjectivesUpon completion of this course students are expected to be able to discuss the historical evolution of public international law, to refer to its main subjects and sources and to be familiar with States’ implementation of international standards and the consequences of the breaches of international obligations. Secondly, students are to be able to critically analyse the main contemporary issues and challenges arising in various branches of public international law, including inter alia, the law of the sea, international human rights law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international environmental law.
Teaching MethodStudents are expected to read the relevant assigned reading materials before each class and to contribute to class discussions. Reference to contemporary challenges faced by the International Community will be made and case studies will be used for the purpose of developing students’ critical skills, while bridging the gap between theory and practice.
Assessment MethodClass participation is important and is taken into consideration by the instructor for the assessment of students’ performance. Students’ knowledge and understanding of international law is assessed through a final oral exam.
Criteria For Deciding On Subject Of Final PaperA minimum grade of 27/30 and excellent English writing skills.
Extended Program And Reference Reading Material
Week 1• An introduction to International Law (Klabbers, Ch. 1; Dixon, Ch. 1).
• The sources of international law (Klabbers, Ch. 2; Dixon, Ch. 2).
• The sources of international law: treaties (Klabbers, Ch. 3; Dixon, Ch. 3).
Week 2• The hierarchy among the rules of international law and jus cogens (Cassese, Ch. 11; Article 53 and 64 VCLT; Yearbook of the International Law Commission [1966] vol. II, 172, p. 247-248 – commentary to Art. 50).
• States as subjects of international law (Klabbers, Ch. 4, p. 67-84; Dixon, Ch. 5, p. 115-125 and 131-136).
Week 3• Case study: Turkey and Northern Cyprus (ECtHR, Cyprus v. Turkey, Application n. 25781/94 of May 10, 2001, in particular §§ 69-81; UN Security Council Resolution 550 of 1984).
• Case study: Taiwan and the issue of recognition (Winkler, available at:
• Other subjects of international law (Klabbers, Ch. 4, p. 84-90; Dixon, Ch. 5 p. 125-131).
Week 4• States’ jurisdiction and immunities under international law (Klabbers, Ch. 5; Dixon, Ch. 6-7).
• Case study: the fundamental principles at the basis of the system of international law (UN General Assembly Res. 2625[XXV]).
• Case study: the principle of the self-determination of people, Kosovo and its declaration of independence (I.C.J. Reports 2010, p. 403 – in particular sections IV and V).
Week 5• The law of the sea, air and outer space (Klabbers, Ch. 13; UNCLOS, selected articles; Dixon, Ch. 8).
• Case study: the Enrica Lexie dispute (Ronzitti, available at, in particular sections 1 and 6).
• Case study: the Arctic versus the Antarctic (The Antarctic Treaty; Jensen, available at
Week 6• The United Nations (Akande, p. 276-281; UN Charter, selected articles).
• The threat or use of force by States, the collective security system and peacekeeping operations (Klabbers, Ch. 9 -10; UN Charter, Chapter VII; Dixon, Ch. 11).
Week 7• Case study: Is pre-emptive self defence admissible under international law? (Report of the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, Part 1 and Part 3, in particular §§ 183 - 198, available at
• The international protection of human rights (Klabbers, Ch. 6; the UDHR; the ECHR, selected articles; Dixon, Ch. 12).
• Case study: case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy (available at
Week 8• Case study: the use of drones in armed conflicts (UN Doc. A/68/389, Section III, in particular part D. The Report is available at
• International criminal law (Klabbers, Ch. 12).
• International humanitarian law (Klabbers, Ch. 11).
Week 9• Case study: the ICC and Darfur (Warrants of Arrest for Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir of 2009 and 2010, available at
• International environmental law (Klabbers, Ch. 14).
• International wrongful acts and their consequences under international law (Klabbers, Ch. 7; Dixon, Ch. 9).
Week 10• Dispute settlement in International law (Klabbers, Ch. 8; Dixon, Ch. 10).
• International law and the fight against terrorism (Klabbers, Ch. 10, p. 198 - 201).
Week 11• Case study: the customary definition of terrorism under international law (Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al., Interlocutory Decision on the Applicable Law: Terrorism, Conspiracy, Homicide, Perpetration, Cumulative Charging, STL-11-01 [STL AC, 16 Feb. 2011]).
• The implementation of the rules of international law within national systems (Klabbers, Ch. 16).
Week 12• International law and global governance (Klabbers, Ch. 17-18).
• Final review.