Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
International & Human Rights Law
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ONE  (5,000-6,000 WORDS)  40%
Semester Assessment WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT TWO  (5,000-6,000 WORDS)  40%
Semester Assessment ORAL PRESENTATION  20%
Supplementary Assessment WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT ONE  (5,000-6,000 WORDS TO BE RESUBMITTED, IF FAILED)  40%
Supplementary Assessment WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT TWO  (5,000-6,000 WORDS TO BE RESUBMITTED, IF FAILED)  40%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the difference and relationship between international law, politics and other disciplines;
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the legal structures that regulate the working of the international community;
3. Use advanced legal skills and information in order to critically evaluate advanced and specialised international issues, both at theoretical and practical level;
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the justification for the international legal protection of human rights;
5. Display knowledge of the international legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of human rights;
6. Assess and explain the operation of the different mechanisms for the protection of human rights and evaluate their effectiveness;
7. Conduct research and find legal solutions related to the protection of international human rights;
8. Situate human rights issues in the broad context of international law;
9. Locate and evaluate the relevant literature and materials in this field and use them in critical discussions of the subject, both individually and in group;
10. Demonstrate a critical approach to international complex legal problems and present well informed analysis of these topics;
11. Demonstrate the ability to employ advanced skills and analytical tools to conduct research that shall be useful for both practitioners and more speculative researchers.

Brief description

The module is divided into two main parts. The first one focus on international law and the second one on the international protection of human rights.
The first introductory seminar introduces the concepts of international law and human rights, including their relationship with international politics and other relevant disciplines to understand the context and problems of contemporary international law, mainly in relation to human rights protection.
Part 1 on international law is divided into three sections. The first section deals with subjects and actors of international law. These include not only states, but also other important players in the international system, such as international organizations, trans-national organisations and organized groups. The second section focuses on the sources of the international legal system, looking in particular at treaties, customary law and other sources that define the legal obligations under international law. The third section addresses specific issues that may be relevant also for the study of other modules within the programme. Each of those three main issues is then divided into more detailed subsections, each of them focusing on specific themes, problems and sources.
Part 2 of the module provides an overview of the most relevant issues concerning the international protection of human rights. These include the international and universal approach to the definition and protection of human rights, and the implications for states, groups and individuals. The module focuses on the international law related to human rights, in particular the International Bill of Human Rights as part of the universal system of protection under the United Nations framework. The role of the United Nations and relevant regional organisations, such as European, American and African human rights institutions is discussed, as well as the main mechanisms available at international and regional level, such as international courts and other bodies. The role of non-governmental organisations and other national mechanisms is also considered. The final part of the module looks at some specific human rights issues that may be useful for other specialized topics on human rights and humanitarian law.


1. International Law, Human Rights and the International Society: History, Philosophy and Relationship with International Politics and other Disciplines.

Section 1 ? Subjects of International Law
2. International Legal Personality I: States and the Notion of Statehood.
3. International Legal Personality II: International Organisations and the United Nations
4. International Legal Personality III; Individuals, Groups and Minorities as Subjects of International Law.
Section 2 - Sources of International Law
5. Sources I: The Law of Treaties
6. Sources II: Customary International Law and Soft Law
7. Sources III: General Principles, Jus Cogens, and Obligations Erga Omnes
Section 3: Specific Issues
8. International Law and Domestic Law
9. Jurisdiction and Immunities
10. International Responsibility
11. Settlement of International Disputes

12. The International System for the Protection of Human Rights:
Sources of Law; Institutions; Procedures.
13. The UN System of Human Rights Protection
14. Regional Systems of Human Rights Protection: Europe
15. Regional Systems of Human Rights Protection: America and Africa
16. Nature of Human Rights Obligations
17. Non-State Actors and Human Rights
18. Equality and Non-Discrimination
19. Integrity of the Person
20. The Rights of Peoples and Minorities
21. Exceptions in International Human Rights Law
22. The Domestic Application of International Human Rights Instruments

Transferable skills

Throughout the module, students will practise and develop their skills of research, analysis, time-management, oral and written presentation. In seminars they will develop their ability to listen, understand and explain subject related topics as well as present a point of view orally and discuss their thoughts with the rest of the class; their assignments will enable them to develop their skills of independent research, analysis, presentation and writing (including data collection and retrieval, IT and time management). All learning throughout the module will be relevant to a career in any legal profession.


This module is at CQFW Level 7