International Law Based on Real World Case Studies

  • Total class time: 40 hours.
  • Unit: Centro Universitário FECAP Liberdade (Av. da Liberdade, 532).
  • Times: Wednesday and Fridays from 18:00 to 18:50, starting February 28th.
  • Value: Students and Alumni: R$100,00, in case of aprovement the value will be returned.
  • External Public: R$1.600,00
  • Professor: Elaini Cristina Gonzaga da Silva






Mainstream International Relations Theories (as realism, liberalism and constructivism) bear important differences as to how they understand international law and the role they ascribe to it in world politics. In order to provide students with subsidies to assess those theories and their approach to international law, this course proposes to explore the nature and function of international law institutions based on real world paradigmatic case-studies. Topics covered include traditional and new sources of law, actors, and dispute settlement



The main objective of the course is to provide students with in-depth analytical ability to identify the work and function of international law mechanisms in real life, in order to be able to assess political analysis of those institutions. For that reason, the course focuses the study of real world case studies, where politics met law, and a formal response was to be rendered and applied by practitioners working on the field. Since case studies expose students to real life situations, the method makes it easier to understand complex concepts by discussion on concrete subjects and terms. It also improves analytical thinking, tolerance for different views on the same subject, and ability to defend one’s own point of view with logic. As for content, this course will cover the main subjects necessary to articulate an opinion on the role played by international law today: who are the actors who make, influence, or have recourse to international; what are the norms we are talking about; and how disputes are solved.



High intermediate english.



1. A mid-term dissertation (NI 1);

2. Three two-page essays – each should comment on the readings for one assignment chose by the student each month from the reading list; these papers must be turned in to me before the class in which that assignment is discussed (NI 2);

3. A final examination scheduled by FECAP (PO).



Week 1 – Introduction to the course. Information about Exams. Law and Politics in the Making of International law.

KENNEDY, David. The Disciplines of International Law & Policy. Leiden J. of Int’l Law, v. 12, 1999, p. 83-101.

Subjects of international law

Week 2: Statehood

Case: The Permanent Court Of International Justice/ Question of the Monastery of Saint-Naoum (Albanian Frontier), Advisory Opinion

SHAW, M.. International Law. 5th ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2003, p. 177-200.


Week 3: International Organizations

Case: The International Court of Justice/ Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations.

SHAW, M.. International Law. 5th ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2003, p. 261-267.

Week 4: Corporations

ALVAREZ, José E. Are Corporations “Subjects” of International Law? Santa Clara Journal Of International Law, v. 9, 2011, p. 1-35.

Week 5: Individuals

Case: The Permanent Court of International Justice/ Spanish Zone of Morocco Claims (Great Britain v. Spain)

CLAPHAM, Andrew. The Role of the Individual in International Law. European Journal of International Law, Volume 21, Issue 1, 2010, p. 25–30.


Sources of International Law

Week 6: Treaties

Case: Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide  (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro)

FITZMAURICE, M. . The Practical Working of the Law of Treaties. In: EVANS,, M. D. (ed.). International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2010, cap. 7.

Week 7: Customary international law

Case: North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Germany v. Denmark; Germany v. Netherlands)

THIRLWAY, H. The Sources of International Law. In: EVANS,, M. D. (ed.). International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2010, p. 101-108.

Week 8: Midterm exam

Week 9: Unilateral Acts

Case: International Court of Justice/ Nuclear Tests (New Zealand, Australia v. France)

Rubin, Alfred P. The International Legal Effects of Unilateral Declarations. American Journal of International Law, Volume 71, Issue 1, 1977 , pp. 1-30.

Week  10: Acts of international organizations

Case: The International Court of Justice/ Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (Advisory Opinion)

BOYLE, A. Soft Law in International Law-Making. In: EVANS,, M. D. (ed.). International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2010, cap. 5.

Week 11: Relative Normativity

Case: The World Trade Organization/ United States — Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products (India; Malaysia; Pakistan; Thailand)

SHELTON, D. International Law and Relative Normativity. In: EVANS,, M. D. (ed.). International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2010, cap. 6.


Dispute Settlement

Week 12: State consent

Case: The International Court of Justice / Case concerning the Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America)

JESSUP, Phillip C.. Silence Gives Consent. Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 3, Issue 1 (1973), pp. 46-54.

Week 13: Legal standing/ius stand

Case: The International Court of Justice/ Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain)

UN-ILC. Draft articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, with commentaries. URL: <>.

 Week 14: Ad hoc criminal tribunals established by the Security Council

Case: The International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia/ Prosecutor V. Radovan Karadzic.

ZACKLIN, R. . The Failings of Ad Hoc International Tribunals. Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol. 2, 2004, p. 541-545

 Week 15: Enforcement of decisions and cross retaliation

Case: The World Trade Organization & EC – Bananas (Ecuador)

SUBRAMANIAN, A.; WATAL, J.. Can trips serve as an enforcement device for developing countries in the WTO? Journal of International Economic Law, vol. 3, Issue 3, 2000, p. 403–416.

 Week 16: Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law

Case: Joint Claims Commission/Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission – Partial Award.

TURNS, D. The Law of Armed Conflict (International Humanitarian Law). In: EVANS,, M. D. (ed.). International Law. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 2010, p. 840-845.

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