Prof. David Linnan (University of South Carolina)

Prof. Hikmahanto Juwana (University of Indonesia)

Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo (University of Indonesia)




Public international law is the traditional law applicable between states and multilateral organizations (e.g., the United Nations), now supplemented by human rights law representing the post-World War II recognition of individuals' rights within the international law system. This is an introductory course, and public international law is a self-contained system with a different basis than domestic law which you normally study. You will notice that the course materials webpage contains assignments for 19 individual units. We expect to complete approximately 15 units by early November, then to let the class chose 1-2 of the final 4 units to cover in the balance of the course.




The class meets normally Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:30-13:00 in Room 338. We also have scheduled two class meetings to be shared via videoconferencing with faculty and students from the University of Indonesia (with whom we have been working together on videoconferenced instruction since 2000). When the time comes, because of time differences, we shall cancel regular class and agree on alternate times for those two videoconferenced sessions (meeting in the Law Library videoconferencing room on those days).




The basic text is Rebecca Wallace, International Law (4th ed, Thomson Sweet & Maxwell, 2002). Otherwise, instructional materials will be posted on the course website accessed via the Law & Finance Institutional Partnership or LFIP website ( The course will be taught by the problem method, under which you are required to read Wallace as student commentary plus other documents posted as part of course materials, view some streaming video lectures in advance, and then prepare problems posted on the course website for class discussion.

We have a course LISTSERV ( to keep in touch generally. You must join the listserv to fully participate in this class, since the teaching faculty will use it like a bulletin board for announcements about reading assignments, etc. while students and faculty should use it to ask questions and carry on discussions outside our videoconferenced classes. For those of you unfamiliar with the LISTSERV concept, a LISTSERV is simply a system in which e-mail communications are sent to a single address and then distributed to all LISTSERV subscribers. Please consult the LISTSERV information page at for general directions, and click on the course webpage class administration link for directions about how to subscribe.


You are encouraged generally to read the newspapers/websites with an eye toward questions of international law and are invited to bring them up in class for discussion. By course's end, you should understand the basic issues and legal framework applicable in the broad public international law area.




The bulk of this course is devoted to a general introduction to public international law. Public international law is something which all countries share, but no single country controls. Is it law, and how is the border to be drawn between politics versus law? It is sometimes hard for students to understand how the law is formed and frames state actions. International judicial decisions are still the exception rather than the rule, and different groups of states have different views of what the law is, or should be. Add to that disagreements about the role of multilateral institutions versus states, and what do you have (think Iraq)? It is clear that there are differences of opinion concerning international law in the post-9/11 world, and particularly between the US and the Islamic world.


Indonesia is both the world's largest Islamic country by population, and a major developing country comparable in size and ethnic diversity to the US. Our two sessions with the Indonesians will include a human rights unit taught by Prof. Harkrisnowo, a noted scholar of women's and human rights, plus a session on use of force law with Prof. Juwana and his public international law students participating this year in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition (because we expect this year's problem to include the use of armed force, think Iraq and Afghanistan). We expect vigorous but principled disagreement among students on certain areas of the law. Your guiding principle in discussions should be that disagreements should be about principles rather than personal in nature, but we do want students to speak candidly with each other. You can see Prof. Harkrisnowo already by accessing the streaming video entitled A Conversation about Indonesians' Views of Human Rights (part of your unit 13 assignment).


We want different groups of students to prepare various class problems as presentations to their colleagues, including hand-outs and/or powerpoints. The theory is that you ultimately learn the most working with each other solving problems. We want you to be able to compare and critique your own and your colleagues' work in part to see how professionals judge these matters.




The primary contributor to your grade will be performance on the final examination. In this course you have the option individually to take one of two kinds of examination. The first kind of examination will be a take-home covering several fact patterns or documents passed out during the last few weeks of class (for your prior consideration in working them up in study groups, if you so desire, with the specific questions covering those fact patterns only to be available when you check out the actual examination). You will find examples of this kind of examination in the on-line past international law examination materials, and many of the class discussion problems come from former examinations. The second variety of final examination will be a closed book examination on hypotheticals you see only when you take the exam as scheduled during the regular examination week period. The final examination will be graded anonymously in either case. Beyond that, your grade will be determined by project work in groups of 3-5, working up 3-4 presentations of individual problems for class (including powerpoint presentation and fielding questions). Your group projects will incorporate an element of self-grading business-school style, to make sure that all group members invest the required effort in their work. However, the group self-grading element will not change your grade more than by grade (for example, from B+ to A).




Please note also that to prepare each class you need to read the printed sources (Wallace plus other materials assigned), watch the related streaming video material in advance, then work the assigned problems. Look closely at the 15 units and you will see that the first 3-5 units typically have one problem for each unit, but thereafter the units typically have 2-3 problems per unit. You should always read all problems and think about them. That having been said, however, everyone in the class will always have one common problem to prepare for each unit. We shall assign the "excess" problems starting a few weeks into the course as group work to be presented in class. For problems assigned as group work, you must do formal presentations including hand-outs and/or powerpoints setting forth your analysis and conclusions. You do not need to prepare such formal materials for the common problems that everyone prepares for a class.




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