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Advanced International Law


Knowledge and understanding

At the end of the course students will be able to know and understand those rules of international law which i) discipline the exercise of State sovereignty, with reference to territorial sovereignty and sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction at sea; ii) limit State sovereignty to protect individual and collective human rights as well as the environment; iii) criminalize massive violations of human rights and establish an international criminal justice; iv) are aimed at enforcing state cooperation in the economic, financial and trade fields as well as at assisting the global sustainable development.

Applying knowledge and understanding

 The knowledge acquired during the course shall permit the student to handle the learned topics. In particular the student will be able i) to apply international law to practical cases, ii) to analyze also in a critical perspective States’ conducts in the light of their compliance with international law; iii) to propose some solutions with regard to some contemporary complex issues, iv) to conduct autonomous legal research in the field of international law and v) to defend legal positions from different perspectives. 

Further expected learning outcomes:

  • Making judgements: The student shall demonstrate his/her capacity to develop critical evaluation and personal analysis with reference to the rules of international law studied during the course. He/she shall be able to read and understand the main customary and conventional rules of international law and to apply autonomous judgements to specific practical or theoretical problems.

  • Communication skills: The student shall be able to communicate clearly, exhaustively and persuasively the legal knowledge acquired during the course concerning the contents and interpretation of international law as well cases and States practice. 

  • Learning skills: The student shall demonstrate he/she has developed an excellent capacity of understanding international law rules, cases and States practice wherein as well as their impact on international relations. He/she shall be skilled in looking for the sources of international law, the judgements from international courts and tribunals, and the implementation of international law within the internal legal orders. 


Territorial Sovereignty

Definition of territory; means of acquisition of territory; borders: definition and role; rivers and lakes; airspace; other territories (the Antarctica). 

Sovereignty, Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction at Sea

Evolution of the law of the sea; territorial sea; contiguous zone; exclusive economic zone; continental shelf; high seas; International Seabed Area; regime of straits and canals; maritime delimitations; settlement of disputes in the Law of the Sea. 

Sovereignty and the Protection of the Environment 

International Environmental law: concept and evolution (from the protection of the environment to the sustainable development); actors, legal sources; the customary principles of international environmental law; general features of the conventions on the protection of the environment: objectives, structures, duties on States, mechanisms of implementation; modifications; the case of climate changes; the case of biodiversity. 

International Protection of Human Rights

UN action on protecting human rights; from the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006; mechanisms of control on human rights respect: the sc treaty bodies; the regional systems; the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights; asylum seekers; refugees and migrants. 

International Humanitarian Law

Definition of armed conflicts, the regimes of international armed conflicts; combatants, prisoners of war, wounded and sick; civilians, civilian population; means and methods of warfare; lawful and lawful targets; regime of non-international armed conflicts; disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. 

International Criminal Law

Evolution from the Nuremberg Trial to the International Criminal Court; genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; aggression; jurisdiction and criminal proceedings before the International Criminal Court.

International Economic Law

Bretton Woods Conference. The International Monetary Fund and its role in exchange stability and in stabilizing economies; the World Bank and its role for economy reconstruction and development; the World Trade Organization and the regulation of international trade; the protection of foreign investments. 


Attila M. Tanzi, A Concise Introduction to International Law, Giappichelli, Torino, 2019 (all the book)

Malcom Evans, International Law, Fifth Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2018.

The reading of the following chapters is recommended: 

Part VII. The Application of International Law

21:The law of the sea, Malcolm Evans

22:International environmental law, Catherine Redgwell

23:International investment law, Surya Subedi

24:International criminal law, Robert Cryer

25:International human rights law, Nigel Rodley

26:International refugee and migration law, Geoff Gilbert and Anna Magdalena Rüsch

27:The law of armed conflict (international humanitarian law), David Turns 

For the students attending the course, other material will be distributed. 


Learning results to be verified

The results to be verified consist are the full comprehension of the topics dealt with during the course, the full knowledge of the relevant rules of international la, case law and States practice, the reached ability to comment and evaluate rules and practical cases.

Assessment method

Oral examination

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