20110592 - International Human Rights Law

The course is aimed at familiarising participants with the legal issues relating to the protection of human rights at the international (universal and regional) level, and enabling them to acquire and/or develop the skills of identifying, evaluating and using international human rights law material, so as to employ this competence within international (governmental or non-governmental) organisations, national ministries and other institutions, national and international courts and tribunals, and the practice of domestic and international law.
The approach taken will be to provide information about the essential elements of international human rights law – conceptual, institutional and substantive – in an interactive and flexible manner. Specifically, students will be directed to: recognise and interpret the main sources of substantive human rights law; examine the nature and scope of human rights obligations; identify the main international institutions for the protection of human rights and evaluate their performance; and critically consider current issues facing the protection of human rights internationally.
scheda docente | materiale didattico

Mutuazione: 20110592 International Human Rights Law in GIURISPRUDENZA LMG/01 PALMISANO GIUSEPPE


The following topics will progressively be covered during the course:

1) Introduction to International Human rights Law (IHRL). Historical Overview of the Development of IHRL.
2) Human Rights as Part of International Law. The Sources of International Human Rights Law:
- human rights as customary international law; human rights as general principles of international law; human rights and jus cogens; human rights and international soft law.
- human rights as treaty law. Limitations, derogations and reservations to human rights treaty obligations: generalities. The interpretation of human rights treaties.
3) An overview of the substantive content of human rights in international law. ‘Generations’ of human rights and the distinction between civil/political rights and economic/social rights. Human rights as indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing rights.
4) Nature and typologies of State obligations under human rights treaties. The tri-partite typology of ‘respect, protect and fulfil’. Immediately prescriptive obligations and obligations of progressive realization.
5) International oversight and protection of human rights: universal and regional systems and bodies.
6) The UN system: the two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the UN treaty bodies and individual communications.
7) The UN Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review, and other UN mechanisms.
8) The European system: the Council of Europe; the European Convention of Human Rights and the Strasbourg Court; the European Social Charter and the European Committee of Social Rights.
9) The European mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Lodging an application with the European Court of Human Rights. The collective complaints procedure provided for by the European Social Charter.
10) Human rights and international criminal responsibility of individuals: the role of international criminal courts and tribunals in prosecuting crimes against human rights.
11) Human rights and State responsibility for internationally wrongful acts: content and implementation of the responsibility of the State for the violation of human rights obligations under general international law. Use of force and protection of human rights. The “responsibility to protect” doctrine.
12) Use of force and protection of human rights. The “responsibility to protect” doctrine. Humanitarian intervention. The protection of human rights in armed conflicts and the rules of international humanitarian law.

The program also includes insights on:
The rights of the child;
The rights of persons with disabilities;
Fundamental rights under EU law;
The European Pillar of Social Rights.

Testi Adottati

Recommended textbooks:

D. Shelton, Advanced Introduction To International Human Rights Law. 2nd edition. Cheltenham - UK: E. Elgar, 2020.
G. Palmisano, Collective Complaints As a Means for Protecting Social Rights in Europe. Anthem Press, London/New York/Melbourne/Delhi, 2022.

Further readings (including selected articles and excerpts from relevant literature) will be suggested during the course.

Modalità Erogazione

Frontal lessons and interactive seminars led by academics and human rights experts. Hybrid mode classes (in-presence and online, Teams platform).

Modalità Valutazione

Oral Exam (Q&A session) including the discussion of a short paper on a specific topic dealt with during the course