• Length:
    12 Weeks
  • Effort:
    6–8 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Advanced
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Associated Programs:

Prerequisites

No prior knowledge of international law is required. However, students should be familiar with the requirements of graduate-level courses and should preferably have already followed some law courses in order to be familiar with legal concepts and legal language.

About this course

Skip About this course

International law can be considered as the law of the international community, the law that governs relations between States. But it also relates to what international organizations do and, increasingly, it concerns individuals, corporations, NGO's and other non-state actors.

As the world becomes more interdependent and more complex, and as new institutions are put in place to make international law more effective, international law has become an exciting, expanding field. Never before has it been so relied upon, used and developed. Despite their differences in size, power, culture, religion and ideologies, states rely on international law to cooperate and to coexist; they speak the language of international law and international law serves them as an important common language.

This law course will extensively rely on judgments and advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).

Having acquired a basic knowledge of international law, you'll find it easier to comprehend this subject in future international law sub-fields, like international human rights, international humanitarian law or international investment law.

This course will teach you what international law is, the role it plays in the world today, how it can be used. You will also gain knowledge to help you better discern legal arguments within the flow of international news and reports.

This course is part of the International Law MicroMasters Program that is designed to give learners a critical understanding of how international relations between States and individuals are dealt with, regarding the law.

What you'll learn

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  • How, and by whom, international law is made, by whom it must be respected, and how it is applied
  • What happens when binding rules are breached and how is it possible to seek justice in this world

1. Introducing International Law
1.1. What is International law
1.2. A brief history
1.3. International law as a common language

2. Setting the International Law Stage
2.1. States
2.2. International Organizations
2.3. United Nations

3. Making International Law (part 1)
3.1. Introduction: the theory of sources
3.2. The problem of International Law-making
3.3. Customary International Law

4. Making International Law (part 2)
4.1. International Treaties
4.2. The Validity of Treaties
4.3. General Principles
4.4. Unilateral Acts
4.5. Soft-Law

5. Applying International Law
5.1. Binding force of International Law
5.2. Interpreting International Law
5.3. Conflicting obligations
5.4. Applying International Law, including in domestic law

6. Claiming responsibility
6.1. The Notion of Responsibility and the Concept of Internationally Wrongful Act
6.2. Attribution of Internationally Wrongful Act
6.3. Responsibility and New Obligations
6.4. Invoking Responsibility
6.5. Countermeasures

7. Seeking Justice
7.1. Pacific Settlement of Disputes
7.2. Arbitration
7.3. The International Court of Justice (Jurisdiction)
7.4. The International Court of Justice (Procedure)
7.5. The International Criminal Court
7.6. International Immunities before Domestic Courts

8. Upholding Peace
8.1. The Outlawry of War
8.2. Self-Defence
8.3. Collective Security
8.4. The Use of Force and the United Nations

Meet your instructors

Pierre d’Argent
Full Professor
University of Louvain

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Learner testimonials

" This course was taught by a very good professor, with excellent abilities to teach and a very wide knowledge of practice (cases, opinions, covenants, professionals, etc). I believe that the greatest asset of the course was, for sure, his ability to teach us how to read international law, that is (...) which words we should pay attention to, what do they mean and where does it stand on the theory we had learned. This was a completely new approach to me." (a learner on CourseTalk)

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.