Course Aims and Objectives:

The course aims at presenting the latest developments in the theory and practice of international law rules governing the relationships between the various subjects and entities of the International Community.

In particular, on successful completion of the course, the students will be able to: (i) recognize the nature of the different actors of the international arena in order to evaluate whether they are subjects under international law and to what extent rights and obligations attributed only to States by traditional theories can be referred to them; (ii) identify the specific sources of international law applicable to hypothetical disputes and practical cases; (iii) analyze the case law rendered by existing international courts having jurisdiction over fundamental human rights' protection and the punishment of international crimes, in order to evaluate the degree of effectiveness  of the rights of individuals, as emerging subjects of international law; (iv) formulate, both individually and as member of a group, a well-organized assertion using proper juridical methodology and terminology in order to either assess or criticize a certain position with regard to a specific legal issue.


Course Structure /Description

The first part of the Course is meant to provide a survey of international law making processes. The way international rules come into being and how they operate in the international legal system will be the core of the analysis. Although the main focus is on customary and treaty law, due attention will be paid also to general principles of law and soft law. The second part will deal with statehood and limits to domestic jurisdiction, with special emphasis on immunities and responsibility of the States to protect human rights through the analysis of the relevant case-law of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The third part will be devoted to the "judicial reaction” to the commission of international crimes by the ICJ, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Court (ICC); a study visit to one or more of such international courts will be arranged around the end of the Course for those students who are willing to participate [note: each student has to organize the trip by his/her own and pay for travelling and lodging expenses]. Should the study visit turn out not to be feasible, lectures by prominent International Law Scholars will be organized on the same days.

Course Materials

-Background readings and on-line multimedia materials

Since the Course requires the basic knowledge of the fundamentals, for those who have never taken any exam in International Law, I recommend at least the following materials:

1.V. Lowe,International law, OUP, Oxford, 2007, Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5;

2.A. Clapham, Human Rights. A very Short Introduction, OUP, Oxford, 2007, Ch. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8;

3.The readings can be complemented by listening to the following lectures, available at the website of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law (

3.a: Judge Christopher Greenwood, "The Sources of International Law”, at the following link:

3.b: Judge Thomas Buergenthal, "A Brief History of International Human Rights Law”, at the following link:

3.c: Mr. Kevin Riordan, "Basic Idea about International Criminal Law”, at the following link:

-Main Reference Textbook

4. J. Crawford, M. Koskenniemi (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to International Law, Cambridge University Press, Oxford, 2012


With the exception of the above mentioned textbooks (at n. 1-2-4 of the previous list), all the required readings (cf. infra the detailed syllabus) will be made available on electronic reserve (within the students' login area - the so called "Area riservata” on the Course webpage with restricted access to attending students), when not available directly on-line. Please print these readings, bring them to class and be prepared to discuss specific points from the readings in class discussion.

Time: Monday, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m; Friday 9 a.m - 11a.m

Location: "Aula Giuridico” of the Department of Political and Social Studies; "Aula B” on Fridays

Teacher: Prof. Adv. Carola Ricci, PhD, LLM

Office Hours: Tuesday, 11.30-12.30 a.m. (Giuridico - 1st floor, follow signs to "Accademia dei giurisprivatisti europei”)

Tutors: Dr. Laura Messina; Dr. Damiano Fuschi; Dr. Adv. Giuseppe Serranò, PhD