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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

1. Acquired knowledge: Students will familiarize with the basic international rules concerning human rights protection and with control procedures established by the main international instruments of human rights protection.
2. Habilities: the course fosters the hability to identify the relevant legal sources (including case law) and to critically construe and analyze international human rights rules and their impact on the domestic legal order.


Basic knowledge of Public International Law is particularly important. Students without any previous knowledge of this topic are strongly advised to follow the course of 'Introduction to International and EU Law before the beginning of this course.

Course programme

The institutional part of the course will address the general framework of human rights protection in international law, with an overview of sources and actors. It will then deal with the following topics: (I) The origins of international human rights law: relationship to diplomatic protection, protection of minorities, international humanitarian law (II) The United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Universal and regional systems of protection of human rights: specifically, the 1966 UN Covenants and the European Convention on Human Rights. Rules of customary international law. (III) Monitoring compliance with international human rights obligations. UN Charter-based and treaty-based bodies. The role of international tribunals: specifically, the European Court of Human Rights. (IV) The effects of human rights norms in the Italian legal order. (30 ore)

The second part of the course will focus on the relationship between protection of fundamental human rights and the fight against organized crime (10 ore). This topic will also be addressed in the context of inter-disciplinary seminars organized by Ma.Cr.O. – Inter-Disciplinary Research Centre on Mafia and other forms of Organized Crime. Attendance to the seminars is mandatory for students attending the course.

Didactic methods

Lectures, seminars by guest professors and student presentations.

Learning assessment procedures

Oral exam in English. For students attending the course, active participation in class and an (optional) oral presentation based on personal research will also be assessed.
Incoming exchange students may take a written test instead of the oral exam if this is a requirement set by their home University.

Reference texts

Students not attending the course shall prepare the exam on: C. Tomuschat, Human Rights between Idealism and Realism, 3rd edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, except for Chapters 11-12-13.
Consultation of the main international instruments in the field of human rights is recommended.

For students who attend the course: notes and materials provided in class, participation in class discussion. Students who make a presentation in class will be assessed also on that basis.