International and European Refugee Law

Course Description: 

The world has become less predictable and more turbulent in recent years with the Syrian crisis, the increased irregular migration, terrorism on the rise again and new resource and climate change disputes. The course investigates the role of international law in mitigating the tensions and maintaining its regulatory functions in less contested areas. Specific emphasis is given to the fundamental principles (including debates on the use of force and terrorism), the rights of the individual, (human rights, refugee law, international criminal law), the rules of international transactions (law of treaties, diplomacy), the resolution of disputes (responsibility, methods of dispute settlement, the International Court of Justice) and the law of natural resources (freshwaters, sea, climate change).  

Although the approach is mainstream and aims at presenting law as it is applied by the international actors and tribunals, critical thoughts will repeatedly penetrate discussions. The readings reflect the diversity of international legal writing: it contains chapters from major textbooks, articles from leading European and US journals, and primary sources. 

No legal background (general, or in public international law) is required.

Learning Outcomes: 

In terms of cognitive skills the course is designed to develop the students’ readiness to develop logical arguments supporting a predetermined outcome, in other words to represent interests from a toolbox of available and legitimate legal arguments. Seminar discussion helps refine the argumentative and rhetoric skills. The presentation by each student during the course serves strengthening the research design capabilities, the skill of academic co-operation, and, at the same time the readiness for individual work. The historic and empirical aspects of the course enrich the personal motivation and enhance emotional identification, thereby openness to plurality. The link of theory with field experience will anchor the abstract scholarly knowledge in thick reality thereby preparing students to be effective agents if later they start to work in this field.