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International Institutional Law (6 ECTS)

Lecturer: Dr A.J.J. de Hoogh (coordinator)

When: Block 1

Brief course description:
Modern international governmental institutions and organizations started to emerge in the second half of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century. World War II sealed the fate of the League of Nations but spawned the birth of the United Nations and many other international institutions and organizations. The end of the 20th century has seen a new wave, with the creation of ad hoc and permanent international (criminal) tribunals and courts and the World Trade Organization. No one doubts that international institutions and organizations are essential for international cooperation, and one may expect to see expansion of their functions and activities in the years to come.
However, on the one hand, organizations are engaged in a continuous struggle to effectively pursue and fulfil their purposes within the specialised and limited nature of their competences and powers. On the other hand, the expanding scope of activities of for instance the UN Security Council and the implementation of its decisions by UN members raises questions as to the conformity of activities and decisions with international law in general, and in particular with human rights law, and has led to the discussion of for instance the organization’s international responsibility for (alleged) violations.

This course focuses on the institutional law aspects of the activities displayed by international organizations, in particular –though not exclusively– of the United Nations. Topics to be discussed include: international legal personality and applicable law; privileges and immunities; the admission and representation of States; normative acts, resolutions, (binding) decisions, recommendations and authorizations; voting procedures; express, implied, and inherent powers; enforcement powers; the internal division of powers, especially within the United Nations; the international responsibility of international organizations; the question of ultra vires acts; and review of acts of international organizations.

Teaching method:
This course will be taught by way of lectures, in which various concepts common to different organizations will be introduced and critically assessed. Specific institutional problems and international controversies will be examined by reference to the law applicable within the particular organization or institution.

Assessment: Written exam (essay questions) (digital if possible).

*Official course information and schedules during the academic year can be found in Ocasys.

Last modified:13 August 2018 11.05 a.m.