First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP5070001, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination INTERNATIONAL LAW OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit is available ONLY for students enrolled in HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE

Teacher in charge PAOLO DE STEFANI IUS/13

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses IUS/13 International Law 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 65 160.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2013 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: A sound knowledge of public international law is indispensable to properly follow this course.
Target skills and knowledge: Knowledge and skills: Students acquire in-depth knowledge of selected topics in international human rights law, and of the essential notions of the international law of armed conflict and international criminal law. Students will be able to identify the key legal issues characterising current political trends at the global and regional levels - namale in Europe, to articulate meaningful research questions and to effectively use legal sources, documents and pertinent literature. Students will be able to connect socio-economic and political challenges to appropriate normative frameworks and refer them to the pertinent organisations and governance levels, with special focus on State obligations under human rights instruments. Students will get acquainted with the case-law and standards of international courts and human rights monitoring bodies, as well as with the national legislative frameworks and the case-law in the field of international crimes prosecution. They will be able to critically address the legal implications of doctrines such as human security, responsibility to protect, human development, democratic transition.
Examination methods: The course assessment has the following components:
1 . a short academic essay of about 2,000 words (including footnotes and a bibliography) on a topic chosen among those proposed. The paper must be uploaded on the course's e-learning platform at least one week before the day of the written test under 2.
2. a closed-book written test in class, in a session of an hour, on the scheduled dates during the exam sessions. The test consists of two concise texts answering two out of three topics.
3-a. Attending students will be assessed also on the basis of their class participation;
3-b. non-attending students should submit (by uploading it in the e-learning platform along with the paper under A) a min.500-max. 800 word report, presenting/commenting a document made available on the same platform.
The final mark will be an average of the three assessment components.
In case the closed-book test under 2 has a negative result, a student can take it again within the next exam sessions without submitting a new essay under 1 and (for non-attending students) a report under 3-b. (Ex: a negative outcome in component 2 take in the June session (either 1st or 2nd call) can be upgraded in the August-September (either 1st or 2nd call). To do it in the January-February session or later, she or he has to submit an essay on a different topic and, in case, a report on a different document.)
Assessment criteria: Assessment criteria:
The essay is assessed based on correctness of the answers, quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition; also are considered: appropriateness of legal terminology, correct identification of legal implications, pertinence of personal comments, if any.
The closed-book written test is assessed on the same grounds as above; moreover consistency of the paragraphs produced to the topic proposed and completeness of information (with reference to the lectures' and handbooks' contents) will be also taken into account.
Class participation is assessed taking into consideration, among other things, the student’s effort and engagement while submitting optional presentations, her taking part in discussions and asking/answering sessions, in class or, where appropriate, in the e-learning environment.
The report is assessed taking into consideration the ability to single out and synthesize the central points of the proposed document.
Course unit contents: Contents:
The course covers the following topics:
1. Development and articulation of the international law of human rights
1.1. Human rights in the UN Charter. The Universal Declaration of 1948 as a legal instrument. Human rights in the case-law of the ICJ - the notions of obligations erga omnes and jus cogens.
1.2. Expansion, regionalization and specification of international standards on human rights; domestic implementation of international human rights law obligation.
1.3. Development of the universal system of human rights - The 1966 Covenants of 1966 and their protocols. Economic, social, and cultural human rights. The other "core conventions" on human rights.
1.4. The Human Rights Council. The Treaty Bodies: structure and mandate. Reports of the states.
1. 5. Regional systems. ECHR.
1.6. National institutions for human rights. The Italian machinery on human rights.
2. Differences and similarities of international law of human rights and of international humanitarian law.
2.1. International law of human rights and international humanitarian law. Protection of the right to life in armed conflict
2.2. Types of armed conflict and their characterization. Application of international humanitarian law in peacekeeping operations.
2.3. Principles of international humanitarian law. Special cases of application of international humanitarian law.
3. International criminal law.
3.1. Principles of international criminal law.
3.2. The International Criminal Court. Practice of the ICC.
Besides dealing with these issues, the course will explore some special issues in the framework of ad hoc seminars and presentations organised with the active participation of students.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Planned learning activities and teaching methods:
The course consists of lectures, presentations by students on some agreed topics, and experts seminars. In all areas, the active participation of students, both in classroom and on Moodle, is considered an essential element of teaching.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Indications on study materials:
Study materials will be available to students on the Moodle platform before the course gets started. Materials will include a selection of international legal instruments, judgments of international, regional and (occasionally) national courts, and views of quasi-judicial international bodies. Books, essays, reports to international bodies, documents drawn up by international commissions of inquiry, NGO material will also be suggested for students’ personal or group research.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Douzinas, Costas; Gearty, Conor, The Cambridge companion to human rights law. Cambridge [etc.]: Cambridge University press, 2012. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Bassiouni, Cherif M. – Schabas William A. (eds), New Challenges for the UN Huma rights Machinery. Antwerp: Intersentia, 2012. Cerca nel catalogo
  • De Schutter, Olivier, International Human Rights Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2014. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Schabas, William, An Introduction to the International Criminal Court. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Solis, Gary D., The Law of Armed Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Nowak, Manfred – Januszewski, Karolina – Hofstatter, Tina (eds), All Human Rights for All: Vienna Manual on Human Rights. Antwerp: Intersentia, 2013. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Moyn, Samuel, The Last Utopia. Human Rights in History. Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press, 2010. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Papisca, Antonino et Al., Italian Yearbook of Human Rights 2015. Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2017. (forthcoming; also available in Italian) Cerca nel catalogo
  • Shelton, Dinah, Advanced Introduction To International Human Rights Law. Cheltenham - UK: E. Elgar, 2014. (recommanded textbook) Cerca nel catalogo
  • Kolb, Robert, Advanced introduction to international humanitarian lawRobert Kolb. Cheltenham: E. Elgar, 2014. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Auto correcting quizzes or tests for periodic feedback or exams
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Kaltura (desktop video shooting, file loading on MyMedia Unipd)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Partnerships for the Goals