Studying Law at Roma Tre

Academic Year 2019-2020

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Fall Semester (October 1 - December 20, 2019)


Law of international Organisations 2019

Prof. Mirko Sossai

7 CFUs - ECTS, Wednesday 18:00-20:00 and Thursday, 16:00–19:00.

Office hours: Thursday, 14:30-16:00, room 1.10.A, via ostiense 139

Course description:
The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to the principles and norms of international law applicable to the inter-governmental organisations (IGOs). It discusses the essential topics of the law of international organisations, including powers, privileges and immunities, as well as membership rules, institutional structures, and accountability. There is a focus on the United Nations system, as the paradigmatic IGO, including the activities of the specialised agencies based in Rome. Special emphasis is placed on the interaction between universalism and regionalism. IGOs have developed into a pervasive phenomenon: a fundamental objective of the course is to develop a critical understanding of their impact vis-à-vis the current global challenges (economic and financial crises, migration, armed conflicts, disarmament, natural disasters, epidemics).

Course Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, students should be proficient in the following subject areas and skills:
  • being familiar with the historical development and the theoretical approaches related to international organisations law
  • understanding the concept of international organisation, as well as those of the legal personality and legal capacities, under international and national law.
- having knowledge of the global and regional systems
- carrying out proper analysis on selected issues
- performing legal research and writing in English in the area of international organisations law

Course Learning Activities
To achieve the above objectives, texts, relevant documentation and case-law will be presented and students will engage in class discussions/debates. Experts in the field, including legal officers of the international organisations in Rome, will offer seminars on specific topics. In addition, students are encouraged to make oral presentations and to write a short essay.

Assessment tools
Student evaluation will be based on class work, class participation, a short essay, and a final written exam.

Attendance policy
Class attendance is compulsory

Course textbook
Nigel White, The Law of International Organisations, 3rd ed., Manchester UP, 2016

Supporting / Recommended course reading material
Students will receive a reader which will include selected articles and excerpts from relevant literature

Course Schedule

Week  Topic and/or Activity Materials
1. The rise of international organisations: history and definition
J. Klabbers, Unity, Diversity, Accountability: The Ambivalent Concept of International Organisation, Melbourne J of Int'l L, 2013, 1-22

R. Kolb, International Organizations or
Institutions, History of, in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2014)
2. Membership, voting and funding K. Magliveras, Membership in International Organizations, in J. Klabbers, Å. Wallendahl (eds), Research Handbook on the Law of International organizations (Elgar 2011) 84-107

D. Akande, Palestine as a UN Observer State: Does this Make Palestine a State?, EJIL:Talk!, 2 December 2012
3. International organizations and the law of treaties

N. Blokker, Constituent Instruments, in The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (OUP 2016) 943-961

 The legal personality

Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations (Advisory Opinion), ICJ Reports 1949

N. Blokker & H. Schermers, International Institutional Law: Unity Within Diversity (5 ed, Brill 2011) 986-998
5. Immunities and privileges A. Reinisch, The Immunity of International Organizations and the Jurisdiction of Their Administrative Tribunals, Chinese Journal of International Law, 2008, 285-306

D. Desierto, SCOTUS Decision in Jam et al v. International Finance Corporation (IFC) Denies Absolute Immunity to IFC…With Caveats, EJIL:Talk!, 28 February  2019
6.  The doctrine of powers
M. Happold, Security Council Resolution 1373 and the Constitution of the United Nations, Leiden Journal of International Law, 2003, 593-610

M. Sossai, Identifying the Perpetrators of Chemical Attacks in Syria: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as Part of the Fight Against Impunity?, Journal of International Criminal Justice, 2019
7. Institutional law-making: a new source of international law? R. Virzo, The Proliferation of Institutional Acts of International Organizations: a Proposal for their Classification, in R. Virzo and I. Ingravallo (eds), Evolutions in the Law of International Organizations (Brill 2015)

M. Wood, The Interpretation of Security Council Resolutions, Revisited, in  Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, vol. 20 (2016), 2017, 3-35
8.  Sanctions
L. van den Herik, The Individualization and Formalization of UN Sanctions, and
M. Sossai, UN Sanctions and Regional Organisations: an Analytical Framework, in L. van den Herik (ed.), Research Handbook on UN Sanctions and International Law (Elgar 2017), 395-417.
9. Military measures
N. White, Peacekeeping or War-fighting?, in N. White and C. Henderson (eds), Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law: "Jus ad bellum, jus in bello," and "Jus post bellum" (Elgar 2013), 572-597
 Issues of responsibility P. Palchetti, The Allocation of Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts Committed in the Course of Multinational Operations,  International Review of the Red Cross, 2013, 727-742


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