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International Law


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


This course is intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge of, and insight into, the core principles and rules of public international law. The course will cover the traditional concepts of public international law as well as several sub-areas and contemporary issues of public international law.
The course will cover the following subjects:

  • Introduction to international law

  • The law of international obligations and dispute settlement

  • The law of international organizations

  • International peace and security

  • The right to self-determination, statehood and recognition

  • International human rights law

  • The International Criminal Court and the crime of aggression

A course outline will be available on Blackboard. Overviews of the prescribed literature, case law and other documents for each week will be posted on Blackboard as well.

Course objectives

After successfully completing this course:

  • Students have knowledge of and insight into the existing legal framework, the foundations and the system of public international law;

  • Students have knowledge of the specific rules and regulations of public international law that were studied during the course;

  • Students have insight into contemporary challenges in public international law;

  • Students understand how international law operates as a system and how international law influences the behavior of states on the international plane.

  • Students are able to interpret and analyze the relevant legal literature and sources critically;

  • Students are able to present a structured legal analysis of and a legal solution to an international legal problem in written form;

  • Students are able to present their own opinion on issues of public international law in class on the basis of sound and convincing legal arguments.


See the link at the front page of this programme

Mode of instruction

This course will be taught for seven weeks. There will be two classes each week: one lecture and one tutorial or seminar. The tutorials (week 1-3) are intended to discuss the lecture materials in more detail and to practice legal problem analysis through various assignments. The seminars (week 4-7) are intended to have class discussion on the topics covered by the short papers that students are required to submit and help the students preparing for the final paper. Students are expected to prepare the prescribed materials and actively participate in each class.

Course Load

10 EC

Assessment method

Students are required to write two short papers of max. 1,000 words on assigned legal topics in week 4-7. In addition, students will have to write a final paper of max. 2,000 words by the end of the course.
The three papers submitted will define the final grade for this course:

  • Paper 1: 25%

  • Paper 2: 25%

  • Paper 3: 50%

Guidelines for the papers (incl. deadlines, formatting instructions, grading criteria and tips for writing) will be posted on Blackboard.


Important information relevant to the course will be available on Blackboard.

Reading list

The prescribed literature, case law and other materials will be announced on Blackboard. Students are encouraged to search for additional (legal) sources in preparation of the papers. Tips on where to find relevant sources will be provided on Blackboard as well.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course. Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Course coordinator: Dr. S.F. van den Driest LL.M