Academic Year 2018/2019 - 1° Year
Teaching Staff: Daniela Fisichella and Calogero Alfio Pettinato
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: IUS/13 - International law
Taught classes: 36 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

Students will gain an appropriate knowledge of the legal standing of individuals under international law and of the main features of several systems of legal protection of human rights, both at the universal and regional level.

Course Structure

Lectures and some seminars with a progressive interaction with students, also based upon the analysis of case-law and group work.

Detailed Course Content

The course aims to investigate both on universal and regional human rights under International Law methodology. Legal sources, either binding and non binding, will be addressed in order to define the proper international legal framework providing human rights guarantees at any level. Regional systems are currently as important as the universal one and, by consequence, some cooperation is often needed, according to everybody's powers.

Textbook Information

First part, Prof. D. Pettinato:


Le fonti normative in materia di diritti umani: consuetudine internazionale e norme di jus cogens, trattati; atti di organizzazioni internazionali e soft law, diritto interno; interpretazione degli strumenti normativi in materia di diritti umani; rapporti tra le diverse fonti.

Sfera di applicazione delle norme internazionali in materia di diritti umani. Soggetti destinatari e soggetti beneficiari di tali norme.

La protezione dei diritti umani nell’O.N.U.: la Dichiarazione universale dei diritti dell’uomo del 1948, i Patti sui diritti civili e politici e sui diritti economici, sociali e culturali del 1966 e gli altri strumenti normativi.

Meccanismi di controllo e strumenti di garanzia del diritto internazionale dei diritti umani.


Sources of human rights law: international customary and jus cogens rules, treaties, acts of international organizations and soft law, domestic law; interpretation of human rights legal instruments; relationships between different sources.

Scope of application of international human rights rules. Entities subject to international human rights obligations and beneficiaries of human rights.

The United Nations’ system of protection of human rights: the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, the U.N. Covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights of 1966 and other legal instruments.

Compliance, monitoring mechanisms and means of enforcement of international human rights law.


SHELTON D. L., Advanced Introduction to International Human Rights Law, Cheltenham-Northampton, 2014, pp. 74-281


Last part, Prof.ssa D. Fisichella:

1) R. K. M. SMITH, International Human Rights Law, 8th ed., Oxford University Press, 2018: pp. 86-218 (Capp. da 6 a 12)

2) A. HUNEEUS and M. R. MADSEN, Between universalism and regional law and politics: A comparative history of the American, European, and African human rights systems, in International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 136-160

3) B. ÇALI, M. R. MADSEN and F. VILJOEN, Comparative regional human rights regimes: Defining a research agenda, in iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 115, 2018, pp. 1-14.



International Organizations on human rights protection at the regional level. International treaties on human rights guarantees.

The Council of Europe (CoE), conventions and declarations. The European Union (EU), including the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The Organization of American States (OSA).

African Charter and African Union (AU). African (sub-)regional mechanisms.

Monitoring, implementing and enforcing human rights.