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Contemporary Issues in General Public International Law


Admission requirements

Admission to the Masters programme.


In this course we will investigate and discuss fundamental developments in the contemporary developments of general public international law. The objective of the course is to engage students in a critical reflection at a theoretical level. The whole course relies on students’ own research. The research must be carried out within the theoretical framework that is provided. The background materials are not self-sufficient. Their only aim is to provide students with some preliminary information about the topic in which they must delve. Student must prepare the background materials for each class. Each week they must also submit a research paper. At the end of the course, students must submit a final paper.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The course has the following objectives: The objective of the course is to engage students in a critical reflection at a theoretical level on the system of general public international law and on fundamental developments in this area.

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

After a successful completion of this course, the student has gained a thorough knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of fundamental developments in current general public international law and a good picture of contemporary theoretical debates in legal scholarship and institutions.

Academic skills and attitude:
After a successful completion of this course, the student:

  • is able to write high quality papers on the theoretical aspects of complex legal issues;

  • is able to present and defend his findings, and to critically appraise the findings of other students;

  • is able to moderate a legal debate on particular issues.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

1 Introductory lecture in the first week.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 4 (1 per week, starting from the second week of the course)

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. Yannick Radi and others

  • Required preparation by students: Students are required to submit a research paper for each seminar starting on the second week (4 research papers in total). Each week, students will be randomly picked up in class to present the outcome of their research as well as their critical assessment of the background reading. Each student will at least make one short presentation in the course of the 4 seminars, and is expected to actively participate in the seminar. Presentation counts for 20% of the final grade.

  • The first research paper will be commented on by the lecturer. However, no grade will be given for this paper. The next three research papers will be reviewed and marked by the lecturer. The marks for these research papers will count for the overall mark of the course. See details in the section ‘Assessment method’.

  • Research papers must be submitted in class. As they constitute the groundwork for the discussion, papers not submitted in class will not be considered.

  • Attendance is mandatory. Missing one seminar is allowed for a valid reason ; missing two seminars – whatever the reason may be – means in principle that students are excluded from the course (there is no retake until next year’s course).

Other methods of instruction

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
3 research papers (30%)
Presentation (20%)
Final paper (50%)
There is no exam.

  • The first research paper will not count towards the final grade (cf. supra). Non-submission of the first research paper at the beginning of the seminar will nevertheless result in a reduction of the final grade.

  • All research papers (4) need to be handed in BEFORE each class (only in hardcopy). The research paper aims at pinpointing one aspect of the sub-theme that is raised for each class. It should briefly indicate the reasons why the theme chosen by the student is relevant and deserves examination. The literature pertaining to that theme should also be appraised. The research paper must critically examine whether the existing literature and case law correctly addresses the problems identified by the student. The overall emphasis should be on the critical analysis of the relevant material. The research paper must not exceed 500 words and must include a bibliography (+/- 1 page). (See Blackboard for a sample paper)

  • Every week, students will be asked to give a brief presentation of their research paper.

  • The submission date of the final paper in hard copy will be announced in class and on Blackboard. It should not be longer than 2.500 words including footnotes, and excluding bibliography. Students are free to choose the topic of their papers themselves, provided that it relates to one of the themes of the seminars. Besides the requirements mentioned above regarding research papers, students are expected for the final paper to provide a legal analysis and examination of the topic chosen.

Submission procedures
Will be announced in class and on Blackboard .

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials


Course information guide:
Outline as posted on Blackboard


Recommended course materials
To be announced on Blackboard


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Yannick Radi

  • Work address: KOG, Office B1.27

  • Contact information: Appointments to be made via mail

  • Telephone number:

  • E-mail:


  • Institution: Public Law

  • Division: Public International Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, Office B1.21

  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 17.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071-5277578

  • E-mail:


Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.