This course examines what diplomats and scholars once referred to as the "law of nations," as it has matured and evolved to adapt to today's complex and interdependent world. We will begin by considering fundamental questions about the nature of international law - the sources of international law (including treaties), the subjects of international law, the origins of international law in the sovereign equality of states, and the absence of mechanisms for the authoritative interpretation or enforcement of international law. We will explore core international law concepts and issues such as state responsibility and the bases upon which states may exercise jurisdiction. We will then examine the operation of international law in the U.S. legal system. In the second half of the course, we will look at a series of international law topics and issues, including some of particular interest today, such as mechanisms for the settlement of international disputes, international human rights law, the law governing coercion and the use of armed force, the law of armed conflict, international environmental law, and the emergence of a body of international criminal law and international criminal tribunals for its enforcement. Throughout, we will consider current issues and problems arising in the international arena and the extent to which international law actually affects the behavior of states. This course provides a general grounding in public international law and a foundation for more advanced or specialized international law courses. Elements used in grading: Class participation, optional paper, and final exam.
Instructors for this courseAllen S. Weiner
Jenny S. Martinez