This class offers a general introduction to the international legal system. We will explore how international law is made through treaties, custom, and other processes; the roles of different actors (e.g., states, NGOs, international organizations, and corporations) in making and applying international law; how violations of international law are identified and remedied by international institutions or actors; and how international law intersects with domestic legal systems, like the one in the United States. The class will cover a range of substantive areas of law, including human rights, the use of force, economic relations, and regulation of the global commons (with some variations across sections). Each topic will be discussed through examination of a real ongoing or recent incident, controversy, or conflict. Students will be encouraged to think about how law can be made, enforced, and interpreted in an environment lacking a single legislature, executive, or judiciary. This course will prove highly useful to preparing students for more specialized courses in international law.
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