Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

This course provides a wide-ranging survey of conceptual foundations and issues in contemporary human rights law. The first part of the course is dedicated to the study of the systems of protection of fundamental human rights with particularly reference to the regional contexts such as the American, African and European one. In the second part of the course major features of human rights' protection are explored through close examination of selected decisions of International Courts, with a special focus on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. A special focus is dedicated to the study of cultural rights and of the rights of migrants. By the end of the course, the student knows the systems of protection of fundamental human rights and is capable not only of understanding the formal set of rules, but also of interpreting both legal provisions and jurisprudence of the main international courts.

Course contents

In the first part of the course the students will study the bases of international human rights law .

There will be a special focus on means of protection of human rights, with particularly reference to the different regional contexts: the European Human Rights System; the Inter-American Human Rights System; the African Human Rights System; the not completely evolved Arab and Asian Human Rights Systems.

This course explores major features of human rights' protection and there will be a close examination of selected decisions of international and supranational Courts.

In the last part of the course a special focus will be dedicated to the study of Environmental rights and sustainable development; cultural rights and rights of immigrants.


The students that will NOT attend the lessons shall prepare one of this books

A) Rhona K. M. Smith, International human rights law, Oxford, last ed.


B) I.Bantekas, L. Oette, International Human Rights Law and Practice, Cambridge Univ press, 2020 (limited to Chapters 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14)

The students that WILL ATTEND the lessons shall know the topic analyzed in class and articles and essays that will be indicated during the course and that will be available from the web page of the course (virtuale.unibo.it)

Moreover, all students are advised to study the program reading also the following text: R. Smith Core Documents on European & International Human Rights 2022-23, Hart, 2022, 8th ed.

!!!! If there are students that haven't followed any law course before, it is highly recommended to follow the crash course Basic elements of public law

Teaching methods

The course will be held both in the form of the traditional oral lecture, and involving students in active participation, especially discussing some leading cases on specific important topics.

During the lesson there will be power-point presentations and the students will be given summaries and case law material.

Assessment methods

Lectures will be held in the fall term 2022/2023, therefore students may take the exam starting from December 2022.

The exam will be held orally.

The purpose of the oral exam is to verify the student's ability to apply his or her knowledge and to make the necessary logical-deductive connections.

The final grade will be determined taking into account the following elements:

- Preparation on a very limited number of topics covered in the course and analytical skills that emerge only with the help of the teacher, expressed in an overall correct language → 18-19;

- Preparation on a limited number of topics covered in the course and ability to autonomous analysis only on purely executive matters, expression in correct language → 20-24;

- Preparation on a large number of topics covered in the course, ability to make autonomous choices of critical analysis, mastery of specific terminology → 25-29;

- Substantially exhaustive preparation on the topics addressed in the course, ability to make autonomous choices of critical analysis and connection, full mastery of specific terminology and ability to argue and self-reflection → 30-30L.


For attending students, the final grade will take into account also active participation in the classroom and presentation of group work, as indicated on the first day of class.

Registration for the final examination must be carried out via the Almaesami application (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm ).

Teaching tools

All students will be provided with power point presentations and case law material analyzed during the lessons.

Students with a form of disability or specific learning disabilities (DSA) who are requesting academic adjustments or compensatory tools are invited to communicate their needs to the teaching staff in order to properly address them and agree on the appropriate measures with the competent bodies.


Office Hours: the students of the course will have to make an appointment writing an e-mail to caterina.drigo@unibo.it.

They will be received on line, Tuesday from 9.00 to 11.00 a.m. via MS_TEAMS

Office hours

See the website of Caterina Drigo