Section Description Provided by Instructor
This course shall introduce to the main questions of international law, including the sources of international law, its subjects, the rules on State responsibility, dispute settlement, and the use of force. It will include a discussion of a range of specific regimes, such as international human rights, international environmental law, and international trade and investment law. In reviewing these areas, the course seeks to equip students with the tools s/he requires to address issues arising under international law.
However, rather than an exposition of the present state of international law, the course shall be problem-oriented : it will be structured according to a number of questions that have become decisive in the shaping of international law in an increasingly interdependent world. For example, instead of discussing State responsibility in the abstract, we will ask whether one State can be held responsible for the damage caused to another State because of its levels of emissions of greenhouse gases; instead of addressing the question of fragmentation only at a theoretical level, we will explore how trade and investment law can be better coordinated with States' obligations under human rights law. We will also critically discuss the existing rules of international law in the light of the questions raised by economic globalization, the need for a coordinated management of global public goods such as the environment, or attempts to reform the international economic order in a way that supports the development of poor countries. The discussions will focus on whether the current rules of international law are adequate to address the challenges facing the international community, including in particular achieving greater equity in North-South relations and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals ; combating climate change ; or defining rules that allow the international community to discharge its responsibility to protect without the doctrine being abused in order to justify effectuating regime change by unilateral action. This will lead us to place the doctrines of international law in their context -- where they emerged from, which events helped shape them, which aims they were intended to serve, and whether they are appropriate to fulfil these aims.
The method of teaching will reflect the aims of the course as outlined above. Each class shall be introduced briefly by the lecturer, who will explain the issue at stake and the relevance of the question addressed to the class in contemporary debates. An open discussion will follow, which the students are expected to take part in on the basis of pre-assigned readings. In order to enable students to devote their full attention to the discussion, laptops are not allowed in class, however notes will be taken by two students for each class on a rotating basis, and these notes, following an editing process, shall be included in a rolling document, regularly updated and posted online, that will serve as a summary of the course.
MW 2:50 –4:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit