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KINT 5035 - Law of International Organizations

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course seeks to convey a wider concept of international organization. Hence, while it analyses traditional international organizations with treaty foundation in detail, it also covers other entities, including dual or hybrid organizations that are incorporated under national law, organizations established as trust funds, and organizations characterized by “institutional ambivalence by design.” The course will give the participants a thorough understanding of the historic background and the legal and conceptual frameworks of international organizations and institutions, and tools on how to analyze such frameworks. The course will analyze the organizational structures, institutional frameworks and membership structures, and the functions, and decision-making procedures of international organizations and institutions, as well as the concepts of subject of international law and international legal personality, organizations' privileges and immunities, and issues of global governance relating to a global architecture of international organizations of ever growing complexity. It will cover decisions of the International Court of Justice and other decisions of international and national courts of prime importance. Participants will review and analyze case studies and will be given guidance on how to draft a Note Verbale. Additional information: Participants will be required to contribute to the issues discussed through a research paper (4000-5000 words) to be submitted at the end of the semester. In addition, participants will be given one week to prepare, as a take-home paper, a succinct recommendation to the senior management of an international organization on a case involving privileges and immunities of staff of different international organizations, and attached thereto, a draft Note Verbale relating to that case (not more than 1500 words).


DROESSE, Gerd (Lead Secretariat Specialist)

Pedagogical format

The course will be conducted in an interactive manner. Substantive information relating to the course will be presented by the instructor to the participants through power-point presentations. These will be uploaded and be available to participants for their reading for the entire duration of the course. Participants will be given detailed guidance on their research papers. Generally, a one-page outline of the research paper should be presented to the instructor prior to finalization for his comments and suggestions, and a short summary of the paper should be presented at one of the sessions to all participants. Participants will also be encouraged to review in small groups the landmark cases discussed during the course. All issues relating to the take-home paper, involving privileges and immunities of staff, and the drafting of the Note Verbale itself, will be discussed in detail during the course. The course will be conducted over three months on 9 and 10 and 23 and 24 February 2018, on 9-10 March and 23-24 March 2018, and on 6-7 April and 13-14 April 2018 (two hours per day).

Course validation

Participants will be required to select their research topic before the course commences. They will present a summary of their paper during one session (3-4 minutes). Full papers need to be presented latest by 6 May 2017. Grading will be awarded based on the assessment of the research paper (weight 50 percent), the assessment of the take-home paper (weight 35 percent) and on the basis of participation in the course (15 percent). Participants may request to be given a second case study. Only the better of the two grades will be considered.


The expected workload is on average 6-8 hours per week.

Required reading

  • J.E. ALVAREZ. International Organizations: Then and Now. The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 100, 2006, pp. 324-347
  • R. J. GOEBEL. Supranational? Federal? Intergovernmental? The Governmental Structure of the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon. Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 20, 2013, pp. 77-142
  • P. C. SZASZ. The Complexification of the United Nations. Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, Vol. 3, 1999, pp. 1-57
  • J. KLABBERS. Institutional Ambivalence by Design: Soft Organizations in International Law. Nordic Journal of International Law, Vol.70, 2001, pp.403-421
  • G. DROESSE. 2011. Organizational Structures, Institutional Frameworks, and Decision-Making Procedures of Multilateral Concessional Financing. Funds for Development. Multilateral Channels of Concessional Financing. ADB: Manila