The Master of Laws in Intercultural Human Rights degree program is designed to be completed in 24 credits over two semesters, and offers a wide variety of courses for students to choose from. Four required LL.M. courses comprise eleven of these 24 credits; eight other elective one-week courses were developed specifically for the LL.M. program. In addition, students have to fulfill a writing requirement generally completed by enrolling in a related two-credit J.D. seminar, and they may take up to twelve elective credits from a variety of international and domestic law courses offered in the J.D. curriculum as recognized by the Program.
Required LL.M. Courses
LLM 700 – 3 Credits
LLM 411a – 3 Credits
LLM 421 – 3 Credits
This course will provide students with an introduction to the substantive norms of human rights in the inter-American, European, and African systems of human rights protection, the main theoretical issues concerning the nature and scope of rights that appear in conventional instruments, and the diverse procedures available at the regional level for defense and protection of human rights. The course is broken down into three main sections:
- The Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection
This part of the course will provide students with an introduction to the substantive norms of human rights in the inter-American system, the main theoretical issues concerning the nature and scope of rights that appear in conventional instruments, the diverse procedures available at the regional level for defense and protection of human rights, and the ways in which policymakers in the countries of the Western Hemisphere attempt to reconcile the demand for enforcement of human rights with the current of foreign policy objectives.
- The European System of Human Rights Protection
This part of the course will give an overview of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and its procedural as well as substantive guarantees. The Convention is applied by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. In the last half-century the Court has developed its own, rich jurisprudence. Its doctrines cover the right to life, the prohibition of torture, slavery and forced labor, criminal procedure and the principle of legality, privacy and family law issues, freedoms of speech, of press, of assembly and association, equal protection, right to property, prohibition of death penalty, right to free elections, etc.
- The African System of Human Rights Protection
The part of the course will examine the practice of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) regarding the review of individual NGOs complaints, with a case study of the implementation of the right to a fair trial, since it has developed important case law on this guarantee. The course will also deal with the development of in-site investigations and the thematic procedures, especially those relating to the mandates and work of the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions and of the Special Rapporteur on the conditions of prisons in Africa. The course will conclude with an evaluation of the work done by the ACHPR under its protective mandate and consideration on its future role in the context of the establishment of an African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.
LLM 416a – 2 Credits
This course explores issues of humanitarian law, i.e. the law of armed conflict, faced by professionals of war, relief workers, humanitarian organizations and others working in complex emergencies. Students will explore and analyze emerging and controversial aspects of law and policy. With the proliferation of conflicts around the globe, humanitarian organizations are being forced into new and unfamiliar territory. Increasingly, humanitarian professionals are attempting to provide relief in settings of diminished security and are grappling with the growing involvement of non-state actors – from rebel groups to private corporations to humanitarian organizations themselves – in situations of armed conflict.
This course also explores novel issues of criminal liability under international law, resulting from war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and the crimes of aggression. It examines substantive elements of such crimes; jurisdictional elements of domestic and international law over international criminal activities; the implications of international cooperation in criminal matters, such as extradition and mutual legal assistance; and the history, practice, and impact of international war crimes tribunals, including the International Criminal Court under the Statute of Rome.
Elective LL.M. Courses
LLM 401 – 1 Credit
LLM 414 – 1 Credit
This course will start with an introduction to the concept of international protection of refugees and an examination of the various international attempts since 1921 to meet the problem of the forced movements of people due to persecution or armed conflict. This will be followed by an introduction to the basics of international refugee law, including the gaps in this body of law. This will in turn lead to a comparative study of the refugee definitions as a basis for the determination of refugee status, the issue of the safe third country and the problem of responsibility for determining asylum claim, and other contentious issues relating to refugee status determination.
Other themes will include: the mandate of work and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; refugee protection and human rights; asylum; non-refoulement under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugee under general human rights law; temporary or time-limited protection and “subsidiary protection”; refugee detention and freedom of movement; refugee protection in armed conflict and complex emergencies; security of refugee camps and settlements; the protection of refugee women and the problem of sexual violence against refugees; the protection of refugee children; the developing law of internally displaced persons; the solutions to the refugee problem; the challenge of repatriation; and the future of international protection.
LLM 420 – 1 Credit
LLM 416 – 1 Credit
LLM 423 – 1 Credit
LLM 418 – 1 Credit
LLM 405 – 1 Credit
LLM 422 – 1 Credit
This course explores issues arising from the universal and regional legal instruments designed to protect the rights of women and the rights of the child, including, but not limited to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as their various protocols.
- Women’s Human Rights
While human rights law has become a staple in legal discourse, women’s human rights law still lacks this universal recognition. Human rights violations of women tend to be recognized only if such violations resemble those of men. Women who are tortured for their political beliefs are granted the same protections as men in the same position. However, if the abuse takes other, gender-specific forms, such as rape and forced impregnation, involves non-political, i.e. social and economic rights, or is inflicted by private rather than governmental actors, human rights protections are being disregarded. In part, this is a function of the universal subjugation of women; in part it is the function of current human rights systems which values male-identified rights, i.e. political rights, above others and focuses on abuses by government actors. Because of the general disregard of women’s rights it is important to highlight the particular issues women face which involve violations of human rights. Such violations occur in the United States as well as internationally. In some cases, women are treated differently even though there is no justifiable, gender-based reason; in others, women are treated the same as men even though unequal treatment would be more appropriate; in a third group of cases women are treated unequally because of a received gender difference.
- Human Rights of the Child
This part of the course will consider issues and problems affecting children in light of the 1989 Convention of the Rights of the Child and related protocols, its background, and its normative policy dimensions. It considers the identification of the child as the holder of certain rights, with the grant of procedural status to assert these rights in appropriate domestic judicial and administrative proceedings. It treats the substance of the Convention alongside implementation of its provisions and the guiding principles of interpretation and construction of the child’s “best interests”; the “evolving capacities of the child,” and equality in treatment (non-discrimination). It also addresses a variety of situations identified by the human rights community as making children especially defenseless, and discusses the child’s means of international protection.
LLM 424 – 3 Credits
Graduation from the LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights requires the completion of 24 academic credits of the LL.M. course of study, including all the required courses and necessary elective courses as detailed above.
The student needs to achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in order to graduate.
Click here for a printer-friendly version of the LL.M. Course Schedule Fall 2020
View the Law School course calendar here: Law School Course Schedule
View the Law School academic calendar here: Law School Academic Calendar