International Law & Human Rights

With increasing globalization, distinctions between the domestic and the international fade. Numerous regulatory decisions, once decided domestically, are influenced, even shaped, by international institutions and international law.  These processes have an impact on Israel and the entire Middle East region. Israel is particularly exposed to the forces of globalization, being open to international trade and subject to scrutiny by external actors regarding its policies.  Israel is also a major contributor to the evolution of international law mainly through the sophisticated and groundbreaking decisions of the Supreme Court that resonate throughout the world and command attention and respect.  Israeli scholarship on international law stands at the cutting edge of the study of international law and is widely respected.

The goal of the International Law & Human Rights Track is to provide students with tools that will enable them to identify and explore the emerging global regulatory regimes in the fields of human rights and humanitarian law, environmental and cultural heritage protection, trade and investment regulation, and other fields.  As well as to assess the normative challenges that these regime pose to our democratic sensibilities and reflect on the possibilities for shaping these global institutions and their policies through accountability requirements of transparency, participation, reason-giving, liability, and judicial review.  This track is therefore attractive not only to students interested in international law but also to those whose passion is constitutional law and administrative law and those who wish to gain the tools to address problems of public law and policy in an era of global interdependency.

To complete your specialization in International Law and Human Rights track, you must take at least 14-15 credits of the LL.M.’s 32 required credits, from courses within the track, but you are more than welcome to take as many courses as you see fit – and that fit your schedule.  You can also take courses from the other tracks, in addition to general elective courses.

The professors and courses refer to the 2021-2022 academic year -courses are subject to change every year.


International Law and Climate Change

Professor Noah Sachs - University of Richmond

Climate change is the most challenging environmental and economic problem that we face, and this course will examine how international law can address it.  We will begin with an overview of international environmental law, including discussion of major treaties and principles and the role of the International Court of Justice.  We will examine the global politics of climate change and why a global energy transition is needed.  Students will explore the major climate change treaties, their impact on economic development, North/South disputes, and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.  Finally, we will study issues of equity and justice in the climate change regime.


International Armed Conflicts and Crises and Challenges of Human Rights

Prof. Vinod Kumar - National Law University Delhi 

Firstly, the proposed Course would provide inter-disciplinary theoretical perspectives (philosophical, legal and political) about the discipline of IHL, which is also known as the ‘Law relating to International Armed Conflict’.

The Course seeks to build a holistic understanding of the students/participants about practical application of the fundamental principles and rules of IHL in various geo-political conflict zones across the continents. Secondly, the Course would explore the complex dynamics and angularities of international armed conflicts in different conflict zones and would also try to understand the crises and challenges of human rights which these armed conflicts have posed before the humanity in unprecedented ways. Thirdly, the Course would not only problematize the crises and challenges but also try to explore possible ways and means of dealing with them within the existing normative framework of IHL as a self-contained discipline of international law. 


Constitutionalizing labour rights: A perspective from India

Prof. Vasanthi Nimushakavi – Nalsar University of Law

The course will be located in the ongoing debate about constitutionalizing labour rights. While traditionally it has been believed that labour rights are best protected not through the law and the courts but by Unions and democratic movements, there has been an increasing shift towards constitutionalizing labour rights. The course will examine the merits of constitutionalizing labour rights in India.


Animal Rights, Social Justice and Prison Abolition

Prof. Justin Marceau - University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

How should persons who care about animal suffering respond to the carceral state, in the face of pressing need for anti-cruelty policies? What is the relationship between abolitionism and civil rights and animal rights?

Through readings on animal rights, civil rights, and the intersection of these topics, this class critically examines the paradoxical relationship between animal law as a progressive social movement and tough on crime approaches to animal protection. Based on comparative analysis of social and economic perspectives, the course will explore new approaches to address human and nonhuman oppression, and the role of the law in establishing effective means to eliminate animal cruelty and enhance social justice.


Theories of Justice: from Plato to Rawls

Prof. Michael Stanislawski – Columbia University

This course examines the theories of justice held by thinkers from antiquity to the present, including Plato, Aristotle, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Aquinas, Maimonides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Nietzsche, and Rawls. Each thinker will be evaluated both in his or her historical context and as a participant in the millennial debate over what constitutes a just society.


Global Governance and Human Rights

Dr. Doreen Lustig - Tel Aviv University

In August 2018, Greta Thunberg—then still a schoolgirl in her home city of Stockholm—began to protest outside the Swedish Parliament to draw attention to climate change crisis. In just one year, her weekly protest on the steps of the Swedish Parliament turned into a global movement. Speaking at the beginning of the UN’s Climate Action Summit, the 16-year-old activist criticized world leaders: “The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you."  Indeed, Thunberg’s transnational activism and global reach have distinct and original features and yet they resonate with earlier historical attempts of transnational civil society agents to rally against established political institutions for the sake of a greater cause and on behalf of dispersed majorities and silenced groups.


International Law

Prof. Aeyal Gross, Dr. Eliav Lieblich & Dr. Natalie Davidson – Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University's International Law Workshop serves as a forum in which leading international law scholars, from Israel and abroad, present their works in progress and address past and contemporary challenges to international law. The workshop also provides TAU students (including LL.M. and Ph.D students) with the opportunity to read and comment on presented and classic texts. Students are assigned to write six reaction papers and engage with the authors during the workshop's sessions.


Varieties of Constitutionalism: Democratic, Autocratic, Populist

Dr. Felix Petersen

Karl Loewenstein (1957) distinguished normative, nominal and semantic constitutions. Particularly important is the distinction of the first and the third, that is, between an effective constitution controlling political power and government according to democratic principles (normative constitution), and a pseudo-constitution serving autocrats and dictators to disguise their undemocratic rule with the normative power of constitutionalism (semantic constitution). Today, the perspective on constitutionalism is more nuanced. Scholars agree that constitutions can play a relevant role under both democracy and autocracy, as they legitimize political power, coordinate the political process, or assist in co-opting social elites, irrespective of the regime.

The course provides a comparative overview of modern constitutionalism, covering a variety of political systems. Focusing on the liberating potential of constitutions and their role in maintaining political power, we trace the conceptual evolution of constitutionalist thought and the historical-institutional transformation of constitutional government. Students will apply the theoretical knowlegde in case studies (US, Israel, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Russia).


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict - two points of view

Dr. Daphna Shraga - UN

The course will examine selected international legal questions at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will place the legal debate in a historical-political context, and analyze the legal questions from two vantage points and two parallel, competing national narratives – an Israeli and Palestinian. The legal questions examined will include the origin and root causes of the conflict, the first Israeli- Arab war of 1948 - the War of Independence for the Jews and the Nakba for the Palestinians; the ‘birth’ of the Palestinian refugee problem and the legal aspects of the ‘right of return’, the legal status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (following the ‘disengagement’), the applicability of the laws of occupation and the Fourth Geneva Convention, in particular, the legality of settlements under international law, the right to self-determination, the Oslo Accords and the status of Palestine in the United Nations.


Health and Human Rights

Dr. Melanie Levy - Tel Aviv University

This course provides an opportunity to explore ways in which human health is interrelated with human rights. It studies and assesses governmental obligations related to health under international human rights law. The course begins by examining the emergence of health and human rights as a distinct field. Following this, it considers the meaning of the international right to health, stressing the interactions between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social, and cultural rights, on the other. Although the course focuses broadly on health and human rights issues, special consideration is given to the right to health as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The course also refers to other international instruments (e.g., International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), regional instruments (e.g., European Convention on Human Rights), national constitutions and legislation, as well as relevant case law.


Criminal Justice in Israel

Prof. Kenneth Mann

This course will focus on central characteristics of the criminal legal process in Israel.  We will look at Israeli legal process in comparative perspective, using United States case law as a backdrop for identifying critical issues in criminal justice.  The course will give special emphasis to a “downside-up” empirical view of how the legal process actually operates in police stations, prosecutors’ offices, the courts and in prisons.  We will develop an empirical model of criminal justice, and compare it with law-in-the books. Emphasis will be given to the important differences in criminal justice for the poor as compared to the rich, and how those differences become evident at different stages of the criminal process, such as in plea bargaining, the conduct of criminal trials, sentencing and in appeals. Special attention will also be given to lawyers’ ethics in criminal defense representation and prosecutorial advocacy. We will also look at use of administrative detention in matters related to national security offenses, refugee entry and illegal immigration. 


Global Health & Human Rights

Prof. Benjamin Meier - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Human rights are inextricably linked to the achievement of public health policy goals. Examining human rights under international law as a basis for public health, these rights offer global standards by which to articulate duties and evaluate policies and outcomes under law, shifting the policy debate from political aspiration to legal accountability. This course provides an introduction to the relationship between human rights and global health. As a survey course, it ranges broadly over theoretical approaches and concrete issues relating to the realization of human rights, applying a human rights perspective to public health policies, programs, and practices.


Development, Inequality and Human Rights

Prof. Jeremy Perelman - SciencesPo Law School

We will explore through a seminar-style course the linkages between human rights, inequality and sustainable development. The course’s departure point is the emergence of a “human rights and development” field over the last two decades, both in academia and policy, partly as a result of the combined failure of development economics and the human rights movement to effectively address the challenges of global poverty, inequality and sustainability. The course will examine this trend from a historical, theoretical, institutional and policy-making perspective.


**These are the courses that are being offered during the 2021-2022 academic year. Courses are subject, and likely, to change year to year. Applicants will be sent a final course list once it is available.

Tel Aviv University makes every effort to respect copyright. If you own copyright to the content contained
here and / or the use of such content is in your opinion infringing, Contact us as soon as possible >>