Close Menu

ILO Courses

ILO L217: International Law and Migration

Course Description

The number of displaced persons worldwide has reached record highs, and practitioners and policymakers working in situations of humanitarian crisis are confronted with increasingly complex legal, policy, and practical challenges related to displacement. In particular, migration flows are more than ever characterized by overlap between contexts and categories of persons with heightened vulnerabilities and protection needs. As a law course, it will focus on the analysis of relevant international legal frameworks applicable to migration and displacement, including international refugee law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law (in both the general and strict senses), the law of the sea, and international labor law. It will also examine the practice of relevant international organizations, and will consider the significance of the recently adopted Global Compact on Refugees and Global Compact on Migration and their follow-up mechanisms. The course will consider application of the above frameworks in the context of specific phenomena, including migration by sea, human trafficking, individuals fleeing violence perpetrated by non-State actors, the displacement of individuals internally and within transit countries, as well as the interface between international law and select domestic asylum systems.

ILO L254: Climate Change Policy & Law

Course Description

This course examines how governments respond to the challenges posed by the complex problem of global climate change and how clean energy policies can help countries achieve multiple goals. The latest science, technological developments, economic assessments of costs and opportunities, the role of the media, domestic and international politics, and innovation are all discussed. Policy instruments for climate mitigation, adaptation, and a clean energy economy are introduced and thoroughly analyzed in a comparative way across most of the major-energy consuming countries. In-class exercises including an international negotiation simulation illuminate course themes. The course introduces and strengthens multidisciplinary policy analysis skills. Cross-listed as DHP P254.

ILO 300-399: Independent Study

Course Description

Directed reading and research for credit, providing an opportunity for qualified students to pursue the study of particular problems within the discipline of International Law and Organizations under the personal guidance of a member of faculty. The course may be assigned to a Field of Study according to the topic selected. By consent of the professor and petition.

ILO 400: Reading and Research

Course Description

Noncredit directed reading and research in preparation for PhD comprehensive examination or dissertation research and writing on the subjects within this division. By consent of the professor.

ILO L200: The International Legal Order

Course Description

This introductory course deals with structural aspects of the international legal system, including the jurisprudence of international law and differing cultural and philosophical perspectives; the history of the international legal system; customary international law; treaty law; statehood and recognition; the United Nations and international organizations; and the relationship of the international legal system to domestic legal systems, using the United States as a primary example.

ILO L201: Public International Law

Course Description

This course will offer an introduction to the international legal system's principal subfields, including international dispute resolution, the law of state responsibility, the use of force and counter-terrorism, the law of war, international criminal law, human rights, and jurisdiction and immunities. Time permitting; we may also cover selected issues in arms control, international environmental law, and international economic law. We will also explore how these subfields relate to domestic law, focusing on the U.S. legal system as the primary example. Open to students who have completed L200 or equivalent.

ILO L209M: International Treaty Behavior: A Perspective on Globalization

Course Description

This seminar examines treaty behavior over a broad spectrum of subject areas—including security, environment, trade, and human rights. Approaches to international agreements affect economic, security, and foreign policy in this interdependent world. The seminar examines IL and IR theories of compliance. It explores exceptionalism in treaty behavior—American and other nations. A simulation will familiarize students with the process of treaty negotiation and drafting. The seminar offers students the opportunity to do research in depth on one or more treaties, or the behavior of a given nation or group of nations under several treaties. Prior law courses helpful but not required.

ILO L210: International Human Rights Law

Course Description

An introductory survey of international human rights law and procedures, including detailed examination of global, regional, and national institutions to protect human rights. The course traces the development of contemporary concepts of human rights, including issues of universality, whether or not certain categories of rights have priority over others, and the means of creating and enforcing human rights law. The role of non-governmental organizations in fact- finding and publicizing human rights violations is also addressed.

ILO L211: Current Issues in Human Rights

Course Description

This seminar analyzes in greater depth a limited number of issues that are of contemporary interest in the field of international human rights law. While specific topics vary, those addressed in recent years have included equality and non-discrimination; democracy; economic and social rights; business and human rights; and humanitarian intervention. The seminar requires a substantial research paper that analyzes a human rights issue in depth, the topic to be determined in consultation with the instructor. Open to students who have completed L210 or equivalent.

ILO L212: Nationalism, Self-determination and Minority Rights

Course Description

This seminar explores the evolution of the concepts of self-determination and minority rights from the nineteenth century to the present. The focus is on changing legal norms, including interpretation of the principle of self-determination by the League of Nations and United Nations; protection of the rights of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities; and the articulation of the rights of indigenous peoples. The seminar requires a substantial research paper that analyzes a contemporary situation in which these issues are significant. Open to students who have completed L200, L210 or equivalent.

ILO L213: International Criminal Justice

Course Description

Following a long fallow period after Nuremberg, the demand for accountability for mass atrocities in the 1990s and since has catalyzed the creation of a range of mechanisms of international criminal justice. This course explores the contours of international criminal law and the institutions that apply it. We will consider the scope and boundaries of the core international crimes - genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes - and the range of actors potentially liable for those violations. In so doing, we will examine the application of this body of law through international courts, such as the International Criminal Court and the UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, hybrid or special courts, such as those in Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and domestic courts exercising universal jurisdiction. The course will examine the reach and limits of these bodies in confronting impunity, the tension between state sovereignty and international criminal justice, and the problem of selectivity.

ILO L214M: Transitional Justice

Course Description

This seminar considers the range of processes and mechanisms available to ensure accountability for large-scale human rights violations and achieve reconciliation, including criminal justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, and mechanisms, which incorporate local custom, such as gacaca in Rwanda. It reviews some of the philosophical, moral and political considerations pertaining to the challenge of reconciliation in these contexts. This course is taught remotely by the professor.

ILO L215: Ethics in the Practice of Foreign Affairs

Course Description

Many of an individual's most morally significant decisions and actions occur at work. This is true whether one works in the private sector, the public sector, or the NGO sector. The normative weightiness of such decisions is particularly high in many of the careers to which Fletcher students aspire. At the same time, it is well established that social and organizational context plays a key role in shaping behavior, including by shaping an individual's behavior in ways that can run contrary to her independent ethical judgment. In other words, it is extremely difficult to think and act ethically at work. Detached from the professional context, graduate school provides a crucial opportunity for moral reflection at a moment when that reflection can have a real impact in shaping future action. Seizing on that opportunity, this course wrestles with the key dimensions of moral difficulty likely to face those working at the transnational or international level (broadly construed). We begin with philosophical foundations, covering the three key modes of moral reasoning: consequentialism, deontological ethics, and virtue ethics. We then turn in the second part of the course to thinking through problems at the intersection of morality and psychology, understanding the concept of moral dimensions (culpability, blame, and burden), and clarifying the distinction between justification and excuse. The third and dominant part of the course isolates and focuses on the most vexing normative issues and challenges likely to arise for those working in the transnational realm. Among others, this will include wrestling with the dilemmas involved in negotiating with criminal or terrorist actors, doing business in a context of mass corruption, prioritizing recipients of humanitarian aid, engaging in whistleblowing or disobedience, and deciding whether to serve in an administration engaged in nefarious. The objective of the course is to empower students with the philosophical tools to shape their professional lives in such a way that they can ultimately reflect back upon their careers and endorse them morally from a position of honest and searching self-evaluation.

ILO L216: International Humanitarian Law

Course Description

This course explores the doctrine and key tenets of international humanitarian law (variously termed the jus in bello, the law of armed conflict, and the laws of war) while also interrogating that doctrine and considering how developing practices and technologies of war challenge the existing framework. It presumes that students will develop an understanding of the jus ad bellum (the law governing the resort to force, or when we fight) from the International Legal Order (ILO L200) and Public International Law (ILO L201). The focus here will instead be on the jus in bello (the law governing how we fight). We will reflect on the independence of the jus in bello from the jus ad bellum and come to grips with the differences between international, non-international, and transnational conflicts. Several weeks will be devoted to examining the core issues in this regime: the distinction between combatants and civilians, proportionality, weapons bans, precautions in attack, and detention. We will also examine the interaction between human rights law and humanitarian law, the protection of humanitarian assistance in war, the regulation of private military contractors, the connection between IHL and war crimes, and other related issues.

ILO L220: International Organizations

Course Description

Using the case method, this course explores the key court decisions that have helped establish the legal principles that empower and regulate international organizations. Analysis of these cases illuminates the relationship and tension between international law and politics in this area, as well as shows how courts help and hinder the development of international organizations, sometimes in the same case. Additional case studies will focus on contemporary problems facing a variety of international organizations. The debates and assessment exercises will strengthen students' critical reasoning skills, in addition to fostering a sophisticated understanding of the law created for and by international organizations.

ILO L221: Actors in Global Governance

Course Description

This seminar is designed to explore in a comparative mode various actors in global governance: global organizations, regional organizations, groupings of states, non-governmental organizations, private sector actors, and networks. The first part of the seminar is devoted to theoretical, institutional, and legal issues. Each student then develops and presents to the class an outline for a "Reform Report" on an institution of their choice, taking stock of its performance and offering a vision for the future. Based on feedback from the class, constituted as the ‘senior management group' of the institution, the report is finalized and submitted as the major assignment for the course.

ILO L222: Selected Issues in Law of the Sea

Course Description

This course explores current issues implicating the Law of the Sea (and in particular the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and related treaties). It explores the interaction of an international legal regime with the challenges posed by geography, climate change, history, military rivalry, trade and politics, and in turn how an international legal regime can itself influence the course of national conduct, whether through negotiation, adjudication or "lawfare". We will explore the ongoing tension between freedom of the seas and sovereign rights and regulation, in contexts ranging from current political-military rivalries and criminal conduct at sea to the exploitation and management of marine resources and preservation of the ocean environment. We will also discuss how the ambivalent attitudes of leading military and commercial powers affect the rule of law in the oceanic context. The course uses current challenges in the South China Sea and the Arctic as a vehicle for consideration of certain of these topics.

ILO L223: International Environmental Law

Course Description

This course addresses the nature, content, and structure of international environmental law. The course commences with an introduction to international environmental problems, together with basic principles of international law and environmental regulation. Specific topics include global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, and exports of hazardous substances. Other topics may include marine pollution, transboundary pollution, trade and environment, and development and environment. The course evaluates the role of international and non- governmental organizations; the interrelationship between international legal process and domestic law; and the negotiation, conclusion, and implementation of international environmental agreements.

ILO L224: Peace Operations

Course Description

This course looks at peace operations both as instruments for the management of conflict, and as a lens for understanding major issues in contemporary international affairs. Combining a thematic and case study approach, we consider the law, politics and doctrine of peacekeeping. Select cases are examined to draw out recurring themes and dilemmas, such as sovereignty v. intervention, peace v. justice and the UN v. regional organizations. In addition to lectures and structured discussion, the format of the course includes student presentations and a simulation exercise.

ILO L230: International Business Transactions

Course Description

This course provides an examination of private and public law aspects of international business transactions, including conflicts of law and comparative law issues. It examines the selection of the optimal business format for international operations, including branch, subsidiary, joint venture, technology license and distributorship; international commercial law, including sales contract, and commercial documents; international contracts and dispute resolution issues, including governing law, and choice of forum, force majeure, and treaty issues; and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

ILO L231M: International Arbitration

Course Description

This half-credit module explores the nature and application of international arbitration as a method of dispute resolution in international economic and political relations. A widely used but not generally well-known process, international arbitration is basically a method of dispute settlement that involves the referral of the dispute to an impartial tribunal or panel for a binding decision according to agreed-upon norms, often on the basis of international law. It is applicable to three general types of disputes: 1) disputes between states (interstate arbitration); 2) disputes between states and private parties (e.g. investor-state arbitration); and 3) disputes arising out of international business transactions either between private parties or between private parties and governmental entities (e.g. international commercial arbitration). This module will examine all three types of international arbitration and will consider their legal basis, their methods of operation, and their potential advantages and disadvantages both for the disputants and the wider international community. A student's final evaluation in the course will be based on a paper of not more than 3000 words (65%) and participation in class sessions (35%). The course is relevant to the academic interests of LLM students, because of its legal component, MIB students, because of arbitration's key role in the settlement of international business disputes, and MALD students with interests in international conflict resolution. The course is listed in the fields of Public International Law and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and has no required pre-requisites.

ILO L232: International Investment Law

Course Description

This seminar examines the laws, policies, and legal institutions influencing cross-border investments, with special emphasis on emerging markets and developing nations. It studies the nature of international investment and multinational investors, the international legal framework for international investment with particular emphasis on rapidly evolving treaty law, such as bilateral investment treaties (BITs), NAFTA, and the Energy Charter Treaty, as well as arbitration and judicial decisions applying them. It also considers national regulatory frameworks for foreign investment, the contractual and legal mechanisms for structuring, financing, and protecting international investments, and methods for settling investment dispute.

ILO L233: International Financial and Fiscal Law

Course Description

This course is intended to introduce students to the legal and regulatory context of international finance. It covers selected domestic and international aspects of (i) corporate law relating to finance, (ii) bank financing and regulation, (iii) securities financing and market regulation and (iv) insolvency law. It also addresses the process of innovation in international financial law, with coverage of emerging market debt, swaps and other derivatives, privatizations, and securitization. These topics will be reviewed from the standpoint of domestic law of the United States and other selected jurisdictions, as well as from the standpoint of applicable international law and practice.

ILO L235: Cyberlaw and Cyberpolicy

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the legal issues of cyberspace. Legal issues in this domain are complex. Technology has been evolving faster than the law's ability to handle the changes, so partially this course will be an education in the legislating and policy making of moving targets. It will also be an education in jurisdiction, privacy, surveillance, and copyright as it relates to the Internet. The perspective will be from US law and jurisprudence, although there will be periodic forays into international issues. Topics covered will include cyberlaw and cybergovernance, the Digital Revolution and its impact on First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment issues, copyright in the Digital Age, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Students need not be computer science majors to take Cyberlaw and Cyberpolicy, but the course will assume some familiarity with how the Internet works as well as some familiarity with laws and policy making. The latter need not be through formal education --- e.g., it could come from frequent reading of the press. By this, I mean the parts of the press that cover legal issues in a thoughtful and detailed way (e.g., the New York Times (Links to an external site.) or the Washington Post). (Links to an external site.) During the course, students will be expected to integrate knowledge of technology with law, politics, economics, and domestic and international affairs. There will be significant amounts of reading, writing, and discussion in this class (and no programming).

ILO L237: Mergers and Acquisitions: An International Perspective

Course Description

This seminar reviews the structuring, negotiation, and implementation of cross-border merger and acquisition transactions, taking into account applicable issues of international law, and national practice. The seminar discusses alternative forms of transaction structure and the underlying tax and legal considerations considered for choosing particular approaches. We will also analyze different forms of acquisition agreements, review the role and application of key transactional concepts, and analyze how they are addressed in the context of specific transactions. We will take the opportunity to review the typical areas of negotiation in the acquisition of private and public companies, and evaluate how those negotiations are affected by international regulatory, legal, and fiscal considerations. The seminar will review trends in deal terms drawing on recent transactions involving North American, European, and Asian companies.

ILO L240: Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade

Course Description

This course examines the law of international trade in goods and services, focusing principally on the law of the World Trade Organization and its General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as well as on the foreign trade law of the United States. This sector of international law includes specialized negotiation and dispute settlement processes, as well as particular types of rules, restraining national restrictions on trade. These rules address tariff and non-tariff barriers, discrimination, regionalism, anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties and safeguards measures. This course will pay particular attention to how this legal system manages various facets of globalization.

ILO L250: Law and Development

Course Description

This seminar examines the role of law and legal systems in the economic and social development of developing nations, emerging markets, and countries in transition. It explores how law may both inhibit and foster change and the ways that legal institutions may be organized to achieve national goals. It first considers the nature of law, the nature of development, and the theoretical relationships of law to the development process. It then explores the links between law and development through case studies on land tenure, foreign investment, environment, governance, constitutionalism, corruption, judicial reform, enterprise organization, and the rule of law.

ILO L253: Comparative Constitutional Law

Course Description

This course explores topics arising in the comparative study of constitutional systems and constitutional questions of law. The course will start by examining the goals, methods, and practical relevance of comparative constitutional analysis.  Next, we will begin our engagement with some of the field’s most critical questions:


  • First, we will explore the role of international and comparative law in the interpretation of constitutions.
  • Second, we will explore the role of the judiciary and the judicialization of politics in various systems.
  • Third, we will examine the question of constitutional change, both how constitutions are amended and how new constitutions are written.
  • Fourth, we will look at the structure of the state, and how far a state may go to protect itself, including concerning emergency powers and limits on political speech.
  • Finally, we will explore the question of positive rights and how they are formulated and understood in various jurisdictions.


In engaging these questions and employing a comparative frame, the course has two overarching goals: first, addressing questions of comparative institutional design and comparative doctrine can aid in informing practice and policy in other countries; second, developing a thorough understanding of comparative practice, can enrich our understanding of our own respective systems.


Readings will cover what are sometimes termed ‘influential’ jurisdictions such as the US, France, Brittain, India and South Africa, as well as those often considered to be jurisdictions at the ‘periphery,’ with case studies from Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, among others.  Many of the sessions will include guest speakers who are experts in the respective constitutional system or thematic topic.

ILO L262: Foreign Relations and National Security Law

Course Description

This course deals with the intersection of international law and United States constitutional law, focusing upon the separation of powers doctrine and the allocation of decision-making authority, international law as part of United States law, treaties and other international agreements, the war power and terrorism, the appropriations power, federalism, the role of the courts, and current national security issues. Open to students who have completed L200 or its equivalent, or with permission of the instructor.

ILO L264: Non-proliferation Law and Institutions

Course Description

Existing non-proliferation regimes center around three important multilateral treaties and the verification mechanisms associated with them: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention. Recent developments, including concerns about weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of non-state actors, have raised questions about the viability of existing regimes. The objective of this seminar is to explore these developments from a legal and institutional perspective. Situated in the broader context of the politics and policies of non-proliferation, we will look at the past, present and future of each regime, drawing on current cases to illustrate their strengths and weaknesses. We will look at the key legal instruments, the institutional arrangements for monitoring compliance, and the enforcement mechanisms. Special attention will be devoted to new initiatives that seek to complement existing regimes. More generally, we will consider what – if any - is the impact of international law and institutions in a field that goes to the core of national and international security.

ILO L270M: International Law Practicum I

Course Description

Last year Fletcher launched its first faculty-led International Law (“IL”) Practicum with the goal of bridging the divide between theory and practice in the international human rights field.  As part of this innovative experiential learning course, a select group of Fletcher students have the opportunity to gain hands-on real world experience working on compelling human rights related projects under the professor’s supervision for real clients and partners from the nongovernmental and intergovernmental organization sector.  The client/partners have included (i) the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, (ii) the general counsel for Mercy Corps, and (iii) the Global Legal Action Network (“GLAN”) Law.  Examples of potential project deliverables include desk reports, amicus briefs, petitions, human rights education materials and programing, policy reports, memoranda, white papers, legislation, advisories, client briefings and oral presentations.  All projects involve research, writing, and an opportunity to discuss and reflect on the skills and strategies employed by human rights practitioners as well as questions of ethical, political and professional responsibility related to human rights work.  Through supervised practice, students cultivate a range of skills, become substantive experts on an issue or subject matter, and further develop a professional identity.  In sum, the practicum serves not only as a professional credential but as critical preparation for the complex field of international human rights practice.


The IL Practicum is an experiential two semester (fall and spring) course with two inter-related components: students engage in practical work under the professor’s supervision and participate throughout the course of the year in practicum class sessions that focus on the doctrine, theory, skills, and ethical questions that arise in that practice area. Prof. Christine Bustany directs the IL Practicum and supervises students’ fieldwork.


Participating students enroll in the year-long course for a total of 4.5 credits (1.5 credits in the fall and 3.0 credits in the spring) and commit to working 5-10 hours per week during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. The weekly workload, however, may vary substantially, depending upon the stage of each project or matter. The regular weekly/biweekly supervision meetings will be scheduled after students have been accepted into the practicum and based on the selected practicum members and the faculty supervisor’s availability. 



A prior academic course in international law and/or international human rights law or experience in the field of human rights is preferable.


How to Apply

Those interested in applying for the 2019-2020 IL Law Practicum are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible and no later than 9 a.m. on Sept. 6.


An application consists of: (1) a CV/resume; (2) a transcript (unofficial is fine); and (3) a brief e-mail cover letter (no more than 400 words).  In the “e-mail cover letter,” you may want to address: your reasons for applying to the IL Practicum; significant academic and professional accomplishments that may be relevant; relevant experience; relevant academic coursework in areas; foreign language abilities; and/or your goals for the IL Practicum, i.e., what you hope to gain from participation in the IL Practicum. Your CV/resume and transcript should be attached to the e-mail cover letter. 


Applications should be submitted via e-mail to Prof. Bustany, no later than 9 a.m. on Sept. 6, with “IL Practicum Application” in the subject line.  After reviewing the applications, Prof. Bustany may contact applicants to set up a time for an interview. Students will be informed of decisions by mid-September if not before.



Students can learn more about the IL Practicum at an information session, which will be held on the “Fletcher Shopping Day” scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3rd. 


Interested students are also encouraged to e-mail Prof. Bustany ( with any questions.