Andreas Ziegler (Université de Lausanne)


From 15:15
to 16:45
From 15:15
to 16:45

Course description

The proliferation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations is one indicator of the internationalization of social life and the interdependence of states in the early 21st century. This course will examine the principal legal, historic and political issues concerning organizations composed of states. These include the legal status and powers of organizations, membership and participation, norm-creation, dispute settlement, enforcement of decisions, peace and security activities, and finally the organizations’ privileges and immunities as well as their legal status and powers under national law. The preservation of world heritage and how it influences the work of various international organizations and institutions will serve as an example. Though UNESCO will be at the core of most of this activity, many other organizations and institutions have included the preservation of world heritage in their work, i.e. the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or, in the framework of armed conflicts, the ICRC and the United Nations.

At the same time, the course will also address such real world problems as the creation of international criminal courts, the ‘succession’ of Russia to the USSR’s seat on the UN Security Council, the response to the break-up of Yugoslavia, the jurisdictional issues in the Lockerbie-case, the possibility of judicial review of acts of the UN Security Council, the success of WTO dispute settlement, NATO action against Serbia in 1999, the military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, UN administration of Kosovo and East Timor, etc. These will be related to the preservation of world heritage in its wider context

Primary consideration will be given to the development of UNESCO and the United Nations. Other universal organizations such as the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO or ICAO, as well as regional ones such as the Council of Europe, the EU, and others will also be dealt with. This course does not try to provide a comprehensive picture of all of these organizations. Rather it aims at helping students to understand the common legal problems faced by international institutions, using the example of the preservation of world cultural heritage.

The course is based on an interactive form of teaching. Students will have to prepare short papers and present them in class. In addition, a considerable amount of time will be devoted to group discussions and role playing.

Learning Outcome:

The course allows students with different academic backgrounds to understand current issues of society that are important for global cooperation and coordination. A broad spectrum of relevant disciplines is involved (history, economics, cultural studies, sociology etc.) in order to understand the political and legal implications of various solutions. The knowledge thus gained is of importance in many activities be they in academia, private practice, politics or culture.


  1. Basic Concepts of the Law and Politics of International Organizations and Culture (including Cultural Heritage and Diversity)
  2. The Legal Status and Powers of International Organizations: The example of the UN and UNESCO
  3. Participation in International Organizations: Different Models and their Impact on the Outcomes (e.g. World Bank Projects v. WTO Discussion on a Cultural Exception v. UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
  4. Internal Operation of International Organizations
  5. Rule-Making by International Organizations
  6. Dispute Settlement through International Organizations
  7. Enforcement of Decisions by International Organizations
  8. Peace and Security Activities I: Prevention measures regarding Cultural Heritage
  9. Peace and Security Activities II: Measures regarding Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict
  10. The Responsibility and Accountability of International Organizations
  11. International Organizations and National Legal Systems: The Model of UNESCO
  12. Roles and Functions of International Organizations for the Future (of the Preservation of World Heritage)

Teaching Method

This course will be taught using a combination of lectures and class discussions. It will be based on student preparation of the course materials which will be distributed in advance. These course materials structure the entire course program in the form of review questions. Students are expected to prepare and to debate them in class as well as to contribute with their own insights.


  1. There will be a 2-hour written final examination which will be worth 60% of the final course mark.
  2. Class participation is expected. It will be worth 20% of the final course mark.
  3. Each student must prepare at least one short presentation per half-term and to be able to present it in class (10% each). 


Basic Texts:

Supplementary Readings:

  • Jan Klabbers, An Introduction to International Organizations Law. Cambridge (CUP, 3rd ed., 2015) (=Klabbers).
  • Ruffert, Matthias / Walter, Christian, Institutionalised International Law (Hart, Oxford, 2015) (250 pages).
  • Archer, Clive: International Organizations. - London [u.a.] : Routledge, 4th edn. 2015 (185 pages).
  • Davies, Michael D. V.: International organizations. - Cheltenham, UK [u.a.] : Elgar, 2014 (680 pages).
  • Benedetto Conforti and Carlo Focarelli, The Law and Practice of the United Nations, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers Leiden, 2010 (449 pages).

An updated bibliography can be found at:




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