Sara De Vido (Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)


From 15:15
to 16:45
From 15:15
to 16:45


The purpose of the course is to apply the notion of global governance to six different situations that are linked to peace and security, cooperation and development.

The course will start with a general part providing a brief overview of some traditional notions of international law, such as State and “international community”, in order to understand how this community has developed over the centuries, facing the challenges posed by globalization. The analysis of new actors, such as international organizations at the turn of the 20. century, “networks” established after the most recent financial crisis, non-state actors, NGOs and transnational corporations will allow the students to reflect on the current meaning of the “community of nations”, and of its law, “the law of the nations”. How is the global governance of these days different from the community of States emerging after Westphalia in 1648?

The course will then delve into several aspects: the first one is the prohibition of the use of force. How has this principle developed in international law? The students will explore some of the most recent crises regarding the prohibition of the use of force, including Iraq, Libya and the ongoing Syrian crisis. The second aspect concerns the prohibition of international crimes. In that respect, students will analyse the evolution of international criminal law from Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals to the International Criminal Court (ICC), also focusing on jurisprudence, which will be topic of discussion in class (one of them, for example, will be the recent Al-Madhi case, examined by the ICC regarding the destruction of cultural heritage). The difference between international crimes and transnational crimes will be stressed by providing, as third aspect, a careful analysis of some transnational crimes, such as international terrorism (in particular the case of ISIS), money laundering, corruption, human trafficking, illicit trafficking of cultural property, environmental degradation. The analysis will show the main characteristics of those crimes and, following the interest of the students, will concentrate on two or three crimes.

The study of global governance cannot exclude international human rights law. The protection of human rights is an essential element of peace and development. In particular, the course will focus on refugees’ rights as fourth aspect in the analysis of global governance. As fifth aspect, the course will focus on cooperation and development, starting from the analysis of the UN General Assembly Declaration of 1986 to the affirmation of this right in customary international law. Finally, as sixth aspect, the course will consider health emergencies. In particular, the students will explore the reaction of the World Health Organization and other organizations to the zika virus. Violence against women as a public health concern will also be object of analysis.


The course will include lectures and seminars. During the seminars, the students are invited to prepare the readings related to the topic (readings can be a document, a judgment, a short paper). The purpose is to discuss the topic during an open debate once a week or once every two weeks. Classroom interaction is encouraged. Students are invited to propose issues that have been raised in their country of origin. The week before the scheduled seminar, the lecturer will provide the students a list of questions related to the readings in order to guide the analysis and the debate.


The course will be structured into a first unit on the notion of globalization and global governance, and then into six units each of them dealing with a specific aspect linked to peace and security, cooperation and development:

  • From the community of States to a globalized world. Sources of international law and new actors (individuals, transnational corporations, NGOs, non-State entities). The concept of globalization and global governance. Which are the main differences considering the concept of community of States in the Westphalia system?
  • The prohibition of the use of force. Article 2.4 of the UN Charter. The authorization to the use of force by the UN Security Council. Some examples from the practice: Iraq, Libya, Syria. The responsibility to protect.
  • The fight against international crimes: From the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals to the International Criminal Court – some examples of the jurisprudence will be analysed, including the recent case on a conviction for destruction of cultural heritage. The importance of international cooperation.
  • The fight against transnational criminality: international terrorism (in particular the case of ISIS), money laundering, corruption, human trafficking, illicit trafficking of cultural property, environmental degradation. Why do these crimes affect security? The importance of international cooperation and the legal mechanisms to fight those crimes.
  • The protection of human rights to promote security. Existing mechanisms to protect human rights. Focus on the refugee crisis.
  • Cooperation and development. The right to development starting from Declaration of the UN General Assembly A/RES/41/128 to the consolidation of the core norm. The external dimension of the right to development.
  • Global health and security. The role of the World Health Organization. International cooperation. The case of the virus zika. Violence against women as a public health concern.


30 % participation during seminars (debate, analysis of the documents, etc.)

30 % essay (max 5000 words) on a topic at students’ choice related to the units (or the seminars)

40 % final discussion on the slides + compulsory readings + essay


Compulsory for the exam (along with the slides):

a) B. Simma, A.L. Paulus, “The International Community: Facing the Challenge of Globalization”, EJIL, 1998, pp. 266-277.

b) A. Vandenbogaerde, “The Right to Development in International Human Rights Law: A Call for its Dissolution”, Netherlands Quarterly on Human Rights, 2013, pp. 187-209.

c) A. T. Gallagher, “Exploitation in Migration: Unacceptable but Inevitable”, Journal of International Affairs, 2015, pp. 55-74.

d) study the definitions “courts” and the following crimes: crimes against humanity, war crime, genocide, aggression. Plus the paper written by the ICRC

e) On the Zika Virus, read


Chapters taken from N. Boyster, R. J. Currie, Routledge Handbook of Transnational Criminal Law, Routledge, 2015.

Gallagher, The International Law of Human Trafficking, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Mitsilegas, P. Alldridge, L. Cheliotis, Globalisation, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Hart publishing, 2015.

De Schutter, International Human Rights Law, Cambridge University Press, 2.ed., 2014, part I and III.

Gallagher, The International Law of Migrant Smuggling, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Brems, A. Timmer, Stereotypes and Human Rights Law, Intersentia, 2016.



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