International law (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Francesca Ragno
Francesca Ragno
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
2° periodo di lezioni - febbraio/aprile 2020 dal Feb 10, 2020 al Apr 6, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

In conformity with the educational aims of the masters’ programme in Law, the course aims at exam-ining the three fundamental functions underlying legality in today’s international community: law-making, law-determination and law-enforcement. Such analysis will be undertaken while keeping in due regard the social and political evolution of the modern and contemporary international communi-ty. The subject will be presented in its multifaceted dimensions, and in particular:
a) as one of the instruments for managing change and transformation, while safeguarding stability and predictability of international legal relations;
b) as a language aimed at facilitating agreement and dispute settlement, or as a catalyzer for “peace-ful disagreement” not endangering international peace and security;
c) as one of the key factors to read and interpret current international relations.
The course will also highlight how contemporary international law is not only concerned with the rela-tions among governmental actors, but it also increasingly affects the interests and positions of private actors.


Course structure

Module a)
Following an introduction about the function and the peculiarities of public international law vis-à-vis private international law, the first part of the course will focus on the fundamental features of the international legal order, with special regard to the historical evolution of international law, from the Treaties of Westphalia to the current post-Cold War system of international relations. Special attention will be devoted to the issues of subjectivity, in particular the processes of State formation and the international legal personality of individuals and corporations. Moreover, this part of the course will focus on the law-making function in the international community, with particular attention to the process of formation and modification of customary rules and the adoption, entry into force, invalidity, suspesion and termination of international treaties.
Module b)
The second part of the course will focus on the processes and mechanisms of compulsory law-determination and implementation of international rules. Special attention will be devoted to the implementation of international sources in the Italian domestic legal system and to the international dispute settlement mechanisms, including those involving private actors. The regime of international responsibility will be also covered. Finally, the course will take into consideration and analyse the instruments of law-enforcement which characterise today the international community.

Teaching methods

Classes will be based on frontal lectures - devoted to the transmission of key notions and concepts and supported by PowerPoint presentations - and group discussions on cases. In order to be able to actively participate in class, students will be required to read in advance the decisions that are going to be analyzed. Legal materials, relevant decisions and further readings will be posted on the e-learning platform.

Language of the course

The course will be taught in Italian.


A. Tanzi, Introduzione al diritto internazionale contemporaneo, Padova, 2019.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
A. TANZI Introduzione al diritto internazionale contemporaneo (sesta ed.) Cedam - Padova 2019

Assessment methods and criteria

Exam for attending students

Students that have regularly attended classes have the option to take an oral exam or a written test. The written text will be held right after the end of the course and will be structured as following: 11 multiple choice questions, 1 short answer question (chosen from two) and 1 essay question (chosen from two). The grade will be calculated according to the formula detailed below: 1) multiple choice questions: 1,5 points for every correct answer, 0,5 points will be deducted for any wrong/missing answer; 2) short answer question: max 4 points; 3) essay question: max 10 points.
The oral exam, on the other hand, will consist of an oral discussion, aimed at verifying the knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law, as explained in class and dealt with in the textbook.
In both cases the final grade will be expressed in thirtieths.

Non-attending students

Non-attending students are required to take an oral exam. The exam will consist of an oral discussion, aimed at verifying the knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law as dealt with in the textbook. The final grade will be expressed in thirtieths.

Erasmus students
Erasmus students that have regularly attended classes are granted the possibility to write an essay on a topic assigned by the instructor.