International Law in a Turbulent World

Course Description: 

The course covers selected chapters of public international law. Specific emphasis is given to the use of force and the 21st century developments (drones, targeted killings, counter-terrorism), the rights of the individual, (human rights, refugee law, international criminal law), the rules of international transactions (law of treaties, diplomacy), the settlement of disputes (responsibility, the International Court of Justice) and the law of (sharing) natural resources (freshwaters, sea, outer space). 

Learning Outcomes: 

The course is designed to develop the students’ readiness to elaborate logical arguments supporting a predetermined outcome, in other words to represent interests with the help of a toolbox of available legal arguments. At the same time, they are encouraged to take stance and argue for their personal value preferences. Seminar discussion helps refine the argumentative and rhetoric skills. the whole spirit of the course supports the idea of open society and the value of individual freedom and human rights. Almost thirty years of teaching this course to non-lawyers guarantees that public international law is most enjoyable outside of law schools as well.


The course is based on mixed teaching techniques, the dominant element being discussions reflecting upon the readings and exchange of the participants’ views including knowledge derived from other disciplines. Presentations (at least one to be held by each student)  are 8-15 minutes long (depending on class size) on a real life conflict  based on the students’ own research and reading.  Presentation topics are identified and distributed in the first two weeks. The final exam mobilizes the analytical and critical skills and the ability to be productive in short time frames. 


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