Sara De Vido (Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)


From 15:00
to 16:30
From 15:00
to 16:30

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

The course will then delve into several aspects: the first one is 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.
Secondly, the course will focus on 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. We will discuss about peace keeping and peace building operations. We will also comment on the evolution of the current international situation, including the conflict in Ukraine.
The third aspect regards international human rights law. The protection of human rights is an essential element of peace and development, and it will be the fourth aspect in the analysis of global governance. We will discuss about the different systems of protection of human rights, with specific regard to LGBTQAI+ rights, women’s rights, children and migrants’ rights (an additional activity will be proposed with regard to migrants’ rights, linked to a European project with the university of Piraeus, Greece).
As fourth aspect, the course will focus on cooperation and development, starting from the analysis of the UN General Assembly Declaration of 1986 on the right to development to the ongoing proposal on a convention on the right to development.
As fifth aspect, we will deal with environmental and climate change law, analysing whether we can confirm the existence of a right to a healthy environment in international law and whether we can discuss about the affirmation of rights of nature. We will discuss in class some decisions taken by international, regional and domestic courts, including the Urgenda case - Supreme Court of the Netherlands. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the evolution of the so-called rights of nature and on eco-centric approaches to law.
International cooperation is the cross-cutting issue that will guide the analysis in the course.



Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students:

1) should demonstrate knowledge and understanding in international law, with specific regard to human rights and environmental law;

2) could apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their possible work or vocation (internships and work in NGOs, international organisations, agencies, etc), in particular concerning the mechanisms of protection of human rights;

3) should have the ability to gather and interpret relevant legal instruments (both soft and hard law) of the present situation to elaborate legal reasonings that include reflection on relevant legal and political issues;

4) could communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;

5) should have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake more advanced courses or further study with a high degree of autonomy.


Teaching methods
The course will include lectures, seminars and the projection of documentaries (if possible). During the seminars, the students are invited to prepare the readings related to the topic (readings can be documents, judgments, short papers). The purpose is to discuss the topic during an open debate once a week or once every two weeks. Interaction is highly encouraged. Students are invited to propose issues that have been raised in their country of origin.
There is no prerequisite for the course: even without a background in law, students will be able to follow the analysis because the course will provide the basic legal knowledge to follow it.

10 % participation during seminars (debate, analysis of the documents, etc.)
30% Mid-term assessment: discussion in class and participation to the analysis of the judgments.
60 % Final assessment: a paper (around 5000 words, footnotes included) on one or more cases pertaining to a specific topic at their choice. The topic must be notified to the professor, who will assess the compatibility with the course.


Compulsory for the exam (along with the slides):
1. Y. Onuma, “Multicivilizational International Law in the Multi-Centric 21. Century world” (Moodle).
2. study the definitions “courts” and the following crimes: crimes against humanity, war crime, genocide, aggression. Plus the paper written by the ICRC
3. Climate change litigation database
4. S. De Vido, A quest for an ecocentric approach to international law, in Jus Cogens, 2020,
5. C. Stone, “Should trees have standing?”, in Southern California Law Review, 1972, pp. 450-501.

Chapters taken from N. Boyster, R. J. Currie, Routledge Handbook of Transnational Criminal Law, Routledge, 2015.
V. Mitsilegas, P. Alldridge, L. Cheliotis, Globalisation, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Hart publishing, 2015.
O. De Schutter, International Human Rights Law, Cambridge University Press, 2.ed., 2014, part I and III.
A. Gallagher, The International Law of Migrant Smuggling, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
E. Brems, A. Timmer, Stereotypes and Human Rights Law, Intersentia, 2016.
C. Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment, 3.ed., Oxford University Press, 2010.
P. Sands, East West Street, East West Street: On the Origins of ‘Genocide’ and ‘Crimes Against Humanity’, Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
S. De Vido, Violence against women’s health in international law, Manchester University press, 2020.



Last updated: 17 January, 2023


Isola di San Servolo
30133 Venice,

phone: +39 041 2719511
fax:+39 041 2719510

VAT: 02928970272