International law (advanced) (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Maria Caterina Baruffi
Maria Caterina Baruffi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° periodo di lezioni dal Sep 30, 2019 al Dec 14, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course is intended to provide students with the legal tools and methodologies necessary to analyse the international mechanisms of protection of human rights, established both in the UN framework and at European level, implementing a practice-oriented approach and selecting thematic areas of study. Upon completion of the course, students shall be able to understand the functioning of the international mechanisms of protection, also under a procedural perspective, and to deepen the study of specific rights referring to the relevant supranational case law.


In summary, the following topics will be covered:

• human rights: definition and scope;
• the international protection of human rights (United Nations; main conventional instruments; mechanisms of monitoring and control; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child);
• the regional protection of human rights (the European Convention of Human Rights and the complaints before the Strasbourg Court; the protection of fundamental rights in the European Union).

• prohibition of torture and protection from enforced disappearances;
• freedom of expression as prerequisite for democracy and cases related to human rights defenders; freedom of expression and academic freedom;
• migration flows throughout Europe and their impact on international protection of human rights, with particular regard to vulnerable groups, such as refugees and migrant children. The course, therefore, falls within the activities of the Department of Law as Chair of the UNCRC Policy Center.


As lessons will be conducted in seminar format, the learning activities between attending and not-attending students are distinguished. In the first case, not only the lessons aim at defining and illustrating basic notions, but they also intend to analyse case-law and complaints before quasi-judicial bodies.
In addition to lectures given by the course holder, thematic workshops by the personnel responsible for the European Documentation Centre will contribute to the deepening of single rights and rights of specific vulnerable groups. Seminars will also be held by experts who will provide a deepening on particularly relevant aspects of the subject matter.
The examined case-law, the main international instruments and the study materials will be available on the e-learning platform.
As for non-attending students, the teaching methods will consist in the study of the proposed textbook, to which the teacher can offer her support.
For attending students, upon compatibility with the number of interested participants and the available resources, it can be provided the possibility of a visit to the European institutions in Strasbourg.

For attending students, the exam will cover the topics dealt with during the lectures and reference can be made to the notes and the analysed materials, which can be further complemented with the textbook indicated below.
Non-attending students are required to refer to the textbook indicated below.


For attending students:
V. Zagrebelsky, R. Chenal, L. Tomasi, Manuale dei diritti fondamentali in Europa. second edition, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019; pages 21-190; 345-363; 413-508.

For non-attending students:
C. Zanghì, L. Panella, La protezione internazionale dei diritti dell’uomo, fourth edition, Torino, Giappichelli, 2019, pages 1-35 and 74-369.

Both attending and non-attending students are also required to possess a general knowledge of the main legal instruments referred to in the abovementioned textbooks. To this end, students may support the study with the official versions of these instruments that are available online or in the following textbook:
I. Viarengo, M. Franchi, Tutela internazionale dei diritti umani. Casi e materiali, Torino, Giappichelli, 2017.

Erasmus students may choose to take the exam:
- orally in Italian, studying on the same textbook and according to the same course syllabus as Italian students (V. Zagrebelsky, R. Chenal, L. Tomasi, Manuale dei diritti fondamentali in Europa, second edition, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016), or delivering a presentation on two cases/topics that have been dealt with during the lectures on the international and regional framework;
- orally in English, studying on the following textbooks: D.L. Shelton, Advanced Introduction to International Human Rights Law, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014, only on the following pages 27-120, 156-253; J.F. Geoffrey, The European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, only on Part 1.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
D.L. Shelton Advanced Introduction to International Human Rights Law Edward Elgar 2014 978-1-78254-523-1 Textbook for Erasmus students who choose to take the exam in English (only pages 27-120, 156-253).
C. Zanghì, L. Panella La protezione internazionale dei diritti dell’uomo (Edizione 4) Giappichelli 2019 978-8-892-11963-5 Testo di riferimento per studenti non frequentanti, di prossima pubblicazione (le pagine in programma saranno indicate prima dell'inizio delle lezioni).
V. Zagrebelsky, R. Chenal, L. Tomasi Manuale dei diritti fondamentali in Europa (Edizione 2) Il Mulino 2019 978-88-15-27884-5 Testo di riferimento per studenti frequentanti (limitatamente alle pp. 21-190; 345-363; 413-508).
J.F. Geoffrey The European Convention of Human Rights Oxford University Press 2017 978-0-19-876774-9 Textbook for Erasmus students who choose to take the exam in English (only Part 1).

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of learning outcomes requires an oral examination with regard to both attending and not-attending students. The examination is aimed to verify:
- their level of knowledge acquired and the availability of linking different topics;
- their command of the use of legal sources and comparison of protection systems;
- language and terminology skills;
- analytical capacity and arguing ability.
Erasmus students are invited to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course in order to agree on the learning activities and the content of the final examination.