Prof. Dr. Markus Kotzur (LL.M. Duke Univ.)


Classics of Public International Law revisited

The seminar will deal with the fundamentals of Public International Law. The aim is not only to study the area’s main legal principles and doctrines but also to review central cases and to read and discuss basic texts of international legal scholarship.

Students have the possibility to give a short presentation in English on the topic of their choice.

Teaching language will be English. The seminar addresses all students of all faculties with an interest in Public International Law. Students from the first semester onwards, Erasmus students and those students feeling uncomfortable with speaking English are explicitly invited since neither previous knowledge of the subject nor excellent English skills are required.

The seminar is meant as a pilot project to establish a continuous seminar within the scope of Public International Law. Therefore, all impulses and/or suggestions – especially concerning the proposed topics – are welcome.

It is possible (but not mandatory) to write a term paper (“Seminararbeit”) either in German or in English. It is also possible to write a major thesis (“Examenshausarbeit” – SPB X). Language of the major thesis can only be German.

The seminar will take place on Wednesdays during the semester from 6-8 p.m.

For registration and topic assignment or in case you have further questions or proposals please contact (Mrs.) Nassim Madjidian (


Suggested presentation topics:

Principles and Doctrines

  1. State Sovereignty
  2. Territoriality
  3. State Immunity
  4. Prohibition of Intervention
  5. Sovereign Equality of States
  6. Peaceful Settlement of Disputes
  7. Prohibition of the Use of Force
  8. [The duty of States to co-operate with one another]
  9. Self-determination of peoples
  10. [Duty to fulfil in good faith the obligations of the UN Charter]
  11. “Pacta sunt servanda”
  12. The Estoppel Principle
  13. The Monroe Doctrine
  14. The Stimson Doctrine
  15. The Caroline Test


Jurisprudence of International Courts

(Permanent Court of International Justice and International Court of Justice)

  1. The Case of the S.S. Lotus (1927)
  2. Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations (1949)
  3. The Nottebohm Case (1955)
  4. North Sea Continantal Shelf Cases (1969)
  5. The Case of the Barcelona Traction, Light, and Power Co., Ltd (1970)
  6. Western Sahara (1975)
  7. Case Concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (1980)
  8. The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America (1984 and 1986)
  9. The Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996)
  10. Case concerning the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (1997)


Classic texts

Classic texts will be read and discussed together during the seminar. If you are interested in further reading or presenting an author or text within the seminar, the following texts can be chosen among others:

  1. Hugo Grotius.

Mare liberum.

De jure belli ac pacis libri tres.

On the law of war and peace.

  1. John Stuart Mill. On Liberty.
  2. Hans Kelsen. Principles of International Law.
  3. Henry Sumner Maine. International law : the Whewell lectures ; a series of lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge 1887.
  4. Jeremy Bentham. Principles of International Law.
  5. Samuel von Pufendorf. The elements of universal jurisprudence.
  6. Christian von Wolff. The law of nations treated according to a scientific method.
  7. Emer de Vattel. The law of nations or principles of natural law.
  8. Henry Wheaton. Elements Of International Law.
  9. James Crawford.

State responsibility, the general part.