00230 - International Law (M-Z)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Marco Balboni (Modulo 1) Marco Balboni (Modulo 2) (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Forli
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in International relations and diplomatic affairs (cod. 8048)

Learning outcomes

The course gives an overview of the current structure of the international community and the international legal system, dedicating a particular attention to some specific issues as the norms regulating the use of force. At the end of the course, the student is expected to have the basic knowledge and tools to analyse the most significant events which occur within the international community from the legal point of view.

Course contents

The course is organised into lectures and seminars, according to the logic of the inverted classroom.

Lectures (32 hours) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars (14 hours) aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials and exercises. The division into lessons and seminars is specified in the programme below. In the seminar section, students are divided into three groups. Students will be granted therefore a total of 46 teaching hours, plus the hours to be dedicated to the preparation of seminars.

Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before each session and - in the case of seminars - active participation. Presentations of existing scholarship and case studies might be expected. Attendance is mandatory.

The course contributes to the University's project on innovative teaching.

A) General part

The general part aims to provide basic knowledge about the life of the international community from the legal point of view.

1. Historical evolution and current features of the international legal system

2. The subjects of the international legal system.

3. The sources: customary law, treaties, sources issued by specific agreements.

4. The application of international norms within a country.

5. The violation of international provisions and its consequences.

6. International disputes settlement.

B) Special part (Seminar section)

The special part will focus on the evolution of the prohibition of the use of force. It includes 7 seminars (for each group) as follows:

1. Introduction to the use of force;

2. The individual and collective legitimate self-defence;

3. The collective security system;

4. Humanitarian intervention;

5. The use of force against non-State actors;

6. The anticipatory and pre-emptive legitimate self-defence;

7. Regional organisations.


For the general part, one handbook of your choice among:

  • A. Cassese, Diritto Internazionale, 2021
  • B. Conforti, Diritto Internazionale, 2021
  • F. Salerno, Diritto internazionale, 2021

Further details for each handbook will be given at the beginning of the course.

For the special part:

- N. Ronzitti, Diritto internazionale dei conflitti armati, Torino, 2021 (further details will be given at the beginning of the course).

For both the parts, it is recommended to:

- check regularly the PIL-dedicated space on Virtuale.

- consult a Code of International Law and International Organisations.

Further documents and texts, including for the special part of the programme, will be indicated at the beginning of the teaching term and will be available on Virtuale.

Teaching methods

Traditional teaching and analysis of the relevant case law.

Assessment methods

The assessment of the course is carried out through three written tests, all carried out remotely during the Term, plus a final oral examination.

The first test is made up of 36 multiple choice questions (0.75 points for each correct answer) and one open question (awarded with maximum 3 points). This test aims at assessing the capacity to learn basic contents of International Law.

The second test includes two open questions (each answer being awarded with 10 points maximum) and a short hypothetical case to be analysed (evaluated with maximum 12 points). Both analytical skills and written form of presentation of arguments will be assessed.

The third test involves the student in the analysis of a simulated case of violation of International Law (awarded with 30 points maximum). This test aims at assessing the students' capacity to identify legal issues arising from the case-study and their ability to provide coherent and logic answers on the basis of the insights gained during the seminars.

The oral examination aims at assessing the students' preparation about the general knowledge previously acquired. The oral assessment will be evaluated with a maximum mark of 30 points. In particular, the students' capacity to apply and connect the insights gained also through their individual study will be assessed. The achievement of the final mark is determined by the award of the sufficient mark in each written test and in the oral examination (at least 18 points, on a 30 scale). The final mark will be the average of the all marks obtained during the mentioned examination. Students who have succeeded at least one of the written tests can move directly to the oral examination. At the oral examination, if they wish so, students have the possibility to be assessed again on the program related to the failed or not taken tests (that is two up three written tests at most).

Students that do not pass any written test, or do not have any sufficient mark in the three tests, cannot be directly examined orally. They will have to pass a written test dealing with the general part of the course. The written test is made up of 15 multiple choice questions and will be held on the same day of the oral discussion. In order to get the mark and be admitted to the oral exam, students have to answer correctly at least to 11 questions. For these students, the oral examination will focus on the whole course content, both the general and the special part.

During the summer exam session (June-July) students can choose only one exam date out of the three dates provided. If they fail the exam or do not accept the mark, they can try again in September (one exam date). Otherwise, they will have to wait until the following summer exam session. Two exam dates are scheduled in the January-February session (for students who are enrolled from more than 3 years).

Finally, students should be aware that the final grade can be rejected only once. Moreover, according to art. 25.2 of the University’s Ethical Code, it is reminded that ‘during each mid-term and final assessment, students should avoid any behaviour that may disturb or hamper the correct development of the assessment as well as dishonest or damaging action towards other students or the University. Plagiarism or any behaviour aimed to influence the neutral and correct evaluation of the exam are forbidden’.

Teaching tools

Virtuale, EOL and, if necessary, MS Teams or Zoom. Other teaching tools will be indicated during the course.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Balboni

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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.