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Public International Law: Capita Selecta


It is assumed that all students already have a good working knowledge of public international law. On this assumption, the purpose of this course is two-fold: first, to refresh knowledge of the general principles; secondly, to focus attention upon recent developments and topical issues affecting these general principles, including the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice. Thus, sources of international law will be considered with a focus on the sources actually relied upon in judicial decision-making; treaty law will focus on the problem of reservations to multi-lateral human rights treaties; the judicial settlement of disputes will be discussed from the point of view of the role of the International Court of Justice and the phenomenon of the proliferation of international tribunals and their systemic consequences; state responsibility will be studied in the context of the International Law Commission Articles; the relationship between human rights law and international humanitarian law will be explored through recent ICJ cases; the use of force will examine the current state of this branch of the law after the invasion of Iraq; the law of the sea will consider the challenges posed by piracy and look at critical issues in recent maritime boundary disputes; immunities will be examined in the light of the ICJ Judgment in the Arrest Warrant case (Congo v. Belgium), the pending Germany v. Italy case, and the ICC Arrest Warrant for the President of the Sudan; Statehood will be examined with special reference to secession and the failing state; diplomatic protection will focus on the protection of foreign investment. Reading materials will be provided in advance of lectures in order to enable students to actively participate in class discussion.

Course dates:
Thursday 9 September, Tuesday 14 September, Thursday 16 September from 10:00-13:00 hrs (Part I), room SH1, Stichthage, Campus The Hague;
Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Tuesday 5 October until Thursday 28 October from 10:00-13:00 hrs (Part II), room SH01 Stichthage, Campus The Hague, except for 7,14,28 October: Room nr 401/402 Lange Houtstraat 5, The Hague.

Course materials:

  • John Dugard: International Law: A South African perspective latest edition.

  • Malcom N. Shaw, International Law 6th ed 2008 (recommended reading). Course

  • Course reader (te be provided)

Examination: Written examination, Friday 19 November 2010 from 13:00-16:00 hrs, room 403 Lange Houtstraat 5, Campus The Hague.