88066 - Public International Law

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

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

A) First Module (held by C. Danisi)

The first module addresses the following key basic aspects of Public International Law:

1. Historical evolution and current features of the international community from a legal perspective.

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.


B) Second Module (held by Visiting Professor, Prof. M. Milanovic)

The second module will cover:

1. The law of state responsibility.

2. The law on the use of force (jus ad bellum).

3. Cyber and the prohibition of intervention.

4. Right to life in extremis.

5. Introduction to international humanitarian law (jus in bello)

6. Case study: the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

7. Case study: the downing of MH17.

(reading materials for classes to be circulated at a later date)


A) First module (C. Danisi)

  • Handbooks:

    International law, Jan Klabbers, CUP, 2017,

    alternatively, International law, edited by Malcolm D. Evans, OUP, 2018.

    Selected chapters will be communicated in class at the start of the teaching term. Some copies of both handbooks are available for consultation at the Ruffilli Library of the Forli’ campus.

  • Documents:

    The following documents should be consulted regularly during the teaching term: the UN Charter, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties, the Italian Constitution, the Drafts Articles on International Responsibility. A copy of each document will be available for downloading on EOL before the start of the teaching term.

  • Slides:

Slides will be available after each lecture in the University’s online teaching platform – Virtuale (remember to select the relevant PIL space).


B) Second module (Prof. M. Milanovic)

  • Handbooks:

International law, Jan Klabbers, CUP, 2017,


International law, edited by Malcolm D. Evans, OUP, 2018.

  • Slides:

Slides will be available after each lecture in the University’s online teaching platform – Virtuale (remember to select the relevant PIL space).


C) Additional recommended readings and online resources:

For particularly interested students, additional recommended readings are:

- A Concise Introduction to International Law, Attila Tanzi, Giappichelli, 2019;

- An Introduction to International Organizations Law, Jan Klabbers, CUP, 2015;

- The Use of Force and International Law, Christian Henderson, CUP, 2018;

- International Humanitarian Law, Emily Crawford and Alison Pert, CUP, 2018;

Regular consultation of the following free online resources are highly recommended to be familiar with recent analyses concerning PIL:

- https://legal.un.org/avl/ls/internationallaw.html

- https://legal.un.org/ilc/

- https://www.icj-cij.org/en

- https://www.ejiltalk.org

- https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law/ajil-unbound

- www.sidiblog.org

Further readings will be suggested in class and/or uploaded onto Virtuale.

Teaching methods

The first module will be taught both face-to-face and online, for students who cannot attend lectures on campus, via the TEAMS platform-dedicated space.

The second module will be taught entirely remotely via the TEAMS platform-dedicated space, owing to University’s current regulations on Visiting Professors.

Assessment methods

The assessment of the course consists of three mid-term written tests (two for the first module, one for the second module), plus a final oral assessment (with C. Danisi). All mid-term tests will be held also remotely, via EOL.

A) First module (two tests, each one counting for 30% of the final score)

The first test is made up of 33 multiple-choice questions on the topic covered under items 1 and 2 of the first module's programme (see above). 1 point for each correct answer will be awarded: maximum score is 30 cum laude (33 correct answers), minimum score to pass is 18 (18 correct answers).

The second test includes three open questions to be answered in a short, logical and complete way. Both analytical skills and presentation of arguments will be assessed. The second test will cover items 3 and 4 of the first module's programme (see above). Maximum 10 points for each answer will be awarded (candidates should reach at least 18 to pass).


B) Second module (counting for the 40% of the final score)

The third test will be agreed with the Visiting Professor. Details will be forthcoming at a later date.


C) Final examination and other general rules, including for non-attending students

The final oral examination aims at assessing students' general preparation. In order to get a final positive mark, each of the three mid-term tests should be successful. The final mark will be given by the average of all marks obtained, i.e. three mid-term tests + final oral examination.

Students who have succeeded at least in one of the three mid-term tests can be evaluated directly at the final oral examination. During the final examination, students have the possibility to be orally re-assessed in relation to one or two mid-terms tests if they have not reached the minimum mark to pass the test(s) or, on request, if they wish to improve one of the marks achieved during the teaching term.

Non-attending students and students that do not have passed any mid-term test cannot be directly assessed at the final oral examination. They will need to pass a preliminary written test. This test is made up of 15 multiple choice questions and will be held on the same day of the final oral examination. In order to be admitted to the oral examination and evaluated on the entire programme, students have to provide a minimum of 11 correct answers.

According to the rules established by the University, during the winter exam session (Jan-Feb 2022) students can choose only one out of the three scheduled dates for final examination. If a student does not reach the minimum mark or does not accept the awarded grade at the oral examination, s/he can try again in June 2022 (one available date only).

Teaching tools

Teams and Virtuale for online lectures. EOL for mid-term exams. Additional teaching tools will be indicated in class.

Office hours

See the website of Carmelo Danisi

See the website of Marko Milanovic