This course will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law as well as to the functioning of international mechanisms for the protection of human rights. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations), before examining the different institutional mechanisms for the protection of human rights, both at the universal and regional levels. Chosen topics will be finally be explored to give concrete examples of current dilemmas and challenges. At the end of the course, participants will be in a position to further delve into human rights literature and case law in order to enhance their grasp of the law and understand the major debates and controversies in the field of human rights protection.
This course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law. Throughout the course, the interplay between international humanitarian law and human rights law is systematically tackled by analysing their different origins, fields of application and monitoring bodies, as well as different theories conceptualizing their relationship. These issues are further illustrated by discussing two particularly emblematic human rights in times of armed conflict, namely the right to life and the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
Since the 9.11 attacks, and with the multiplication of terrorist attacks on European soil, terrorism is considered one of the most important security threats the international community has to face. To what extent may states limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction? Which and whose human rights are at risk when states fight terrorism? What are the human rights challenges posed by the United Nations counter-terrorist sanctions regime? In which circumstances may lethal force – including drone strikes – be used against alleged members of terrorist groups or so-called ‘lone wolves’? Which international law rules apply in relation to the internment/detention and interrogation of persons accused of terrorism? These are some of the key issues discussed in this course, addressing several rights including the right to life, the right to liberty, the prohibition of torture, the right to property, and freedom of movement. Although the course is mainly human rights oriented, other international legal frameworks such as jus ad bellum and international humanitarian law will be touched upon. Recent trends in counter-terrorism, such as the preventing and countering violent extremism agenda, will be discussed in light of their human rights impact.
Who is a refugee? What is the legal framework currently applicable to those fleeing countries affected by armed conflicts and violations of human rights? What are the related obligations of host states? This course analyses the main international and regional legal norms governing refugee protection. It examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law. It also analyses the definition of a refugee, the principle of non-refoulement as well as asylum procedures. Particular attention is dedicated to the case-law of State Parties to the 1951 Geneva Convention.