October 2024: Sustainable Governance Training School

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October 2024: Sustainable Governance Training School

Irini Papanicolopulu

Associate Professor of International Law

University of Milano-Bicocca



PhD, University of Milano, Italy

Irini Papanicolopulu is Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, with habilitation to Full Professor. She has a PhD in international law from the University of Milano, and has previously worked at the University of Oxford and the University of Glasgow. She is a Visiting Professor at Catolica University (Lisbon, Portugal) and St. Gallen University (Switzerland) and has been a visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law (Hamburg). She has ample teaching and research experience in International Law, the Law of the Sea, International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and Refugee Law. Irini is the author of two monographs, including Irini Papanicolopulu, International Law and the Protection of People at Sea (OUP 2018). She has authored numerous articles and book chapters published in leading journals on a wide range of issues relating to, among others, international law, the law of the sea and oceans governance, human rights and refugee and migrant protection, marine environment protection and the due diligence duties of states. Irini has also edited several collective volumes, including the award-winning Gender and the Law of the Sea (Brill 2019). Irini has been the founder and first coordinator of the Interest Group on the Law of the Sea of the Italian Society of International Law and currently serves in the Coordinating Committee of the Interest Group on the Law of the Sea of the European Society of International Law. She has been a member of the Italian delegation in negotiations concerning various aspects of international law and occasionally advises states, international organisations, civil society organisations and business actors on issues of International Law, the Law of the Sea, Human Rights Law and Environmental Law.

Areas of Expertise

  • Law of the sea
  • Maritime law and policy
  • Human rights law
  • International Law
  • International environmental law
  • Refugee law
  • Human rights at sea

Selected Publications

  • International Law and the Protection of People at Sea”, Oxford University Press, 2018
  • Il confine marino: unità o pluralità?”, Giuffrè Editore, Milano, 2005
  • Papanicolopulu (ed), “Gender and the Law of the Sea”, Brill, 2019 – Winner of the ASIL WILIG Scholarship Prize
  • “The Historical Origins of the Duty to Save Life at Sea in International Law”, in Journal of the History of International Law, 2022, vol. 24(2), pp. 149–188
  • “Informal law-making in maritime migration” in Natalie Klein (ed), Unconventional Lawmaking in the Law of the Sea (OUP 2022), pp. 62-75
  • “On the Nature of the Law of the Sea” in Maurizio Arcari, Irini Papanicolopulu and Laura Pineschi (eds), Trends and Challenges in International Law (Springer, 2022), pp. 275-293
  • “Egypt-Greece [Report Number 8-25]”, in International Maritime Boundaries (Brill, 2021)
  • “Greece-Italy [Report Number 8-4(2)]”, in International Maritime Boundaries (Brill, 2021)
  • “Maritime Spatial Planning and Protection of the Marine Environment”, in Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2021, vol. 9(2), pp. 311–336
  • Papanicolopulu and T. Burri, “Human Rights and the Chagos Advisory Opinion”, in Thomas Burri and Jamie Trinidad (eds), The International Court of Justice and Decolonization: New Directions from the Chagos Advisory Opinion, Cambridge, CUP, 2020, 187-206
  • Papanicolopulu and A. Rocha, “Oceans, Climate Change and Non-State Actors”, in Jan McDonald, Jeffrey McGee and Richard Barnes (eds.), Research Handbook on Climate Change, Oceans and Coasts, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham/Northampton, 2020, 193-208
  • “Due Diligence in the Law of the Sea”, in Heike Krieger, Anne Peters, Leonhard Kreuzer (eds.), Due Diligence in the International Legal Order, Oxford, OUP, 2020, 147-162
  • “Protection from Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment at Sea”, in Boisson de Chazournes, Doussis, Andreone, Zervaki (eds.), Enjeux et perspectives – Droit internationale: droit de la mer, droits de l’homme – Liber Amicorum Haritini Dipla, Editions A. Pedone, 2020, pp. 397-411
  • Papanicolopulu and G. Baj, “Controllo delle frontiere statali e respingimenti nel diritto internazionale e nel diritto del mare”, in Diritto, Immigrazione e Cittadinanza, 2020, https://www.dirittoimmigrazionecittadinanza.it/saggi/532-controllo-delle-frontiere-statali-e-respingimenti-nel-diritto-internazionale-e-nel-diritto-del-mare
  • “Giudici e codificazione del – e nel – diritto del mare”, in Annoni, Forlati, Salerno (a cura di), La codificazione nell’ordinamento internazionale e dell’Unione Europea, Editoriale Scientifica, 2019, pp. 527-551
  • “The land dominates the sea (dominates the land dominates the sea)” in QIL – Questions in International Law, 2018, http://www.qil-qdi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/03_Whats-an-island_PAPANICOLOPULU_FIN.pdf
  • “The duty to rescue at sea, in peacetime and in war: A general overview”, in International Review of the Red Cross, 2017, vol. 98 (2), pp. 491–514.
  • “Considerations of Humanity in the Enrica Lexie Case”, in QIL – Questions of International Law, 30 November 2015
  • “Seafarers as an Agent of Change of the Jurisdictional Balance”, in Ringbom (ed.), Jurisdiction over Ships. Post-UNCLOS Developments in the Law of the Sea, Brill-Nijhoff, 2015, pp. 301-323
  • “Mediterranean Sea”, in Rothwell, Oude Elferink, Scott, Stephens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea, OUP, 2015, pp. 604-625
  • “Jurisdiction of States over Persons at Sea: Principles, Issues, Consequences”, in Basedow, Magnus, Wolfrum (eds.), The Hamburg Lectures on Maritime Affairs 2011-2013, Springer, 2015, pp. 147-160
  • “Human Rights and the Law of the Sea”, in Attard, Fitzmaurice, Martinez (eds), IMLI Manual on International Maritime Law. The Law of the Sea (Vol. 1), Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 509-532
  • “International law and the protection of fishers”, in Del Vecchio (ed.), International Law of the Sea: Current Trends and Controversial Issues, Eleven Publishing, The Hague, 2013, pp. 317-328.
  • “International Judges and the Protection of Human Rights at Sea”, in Boschiero & Scovazzi (eds.), International Courts and the Development of International Law, Asser Press, 2013, 535-544.
  • “The Law of the Sea Convention: No Place for Persons?”, in International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, vol. 27, 2012, 867–874
  • “Acoustic Pollution of the Oceans”, in Andreone, Caligiuri & Cataldi (eds.), Law of Sea and Environmental Emergencies, Editoriale Scientifica, Napoli, 2012, pp. 159-190.
  • “Mediterranean Sea”, in Wolfrum (ed.), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Vol. VII, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 61-70.
  • “State Responsibility in Disputed Areas on Land and at Sea”, in Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, vol. 71, 2011, p. 587-640 (with E. Milano).
  • “The European Union and the Regulation of Underwater Noise Pollution”, in Vidas & Schei (eds.), The World Ocean in Globalization: Climate Change, Sustainable Fisheries, Biodiversity, Shipping, Regional Issues, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden/Boston, 2011, pp. 457-471.
  • “La nozione di giurisdizione ai sensi dell’art. 1 della Convenzione Europea dei Diritti Umani nella recente giurisprudenza della Corte Europea dei Diritti Umani” in T. Scovazzi, I. Papanicolopulu & S. Urbinati (eds.), I diritti umani di fronte al giudice internazionale. Atti della giornata di studio in memoria di Carlo Russo, Giuffrè Editore, Milano, 2009, pp. 83-130.
  • “Procedures and Mechanisms on Compliance under the 1976/1995 Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea and its Protocols”, in Treves et al. (eds.), “Non-Compliance Procedures and Mechanisms and the Effectiveness of International Environmental Agreements”, Asser Press, The Hague, 2009, pp. 155-168.
  • “A Note on Maritime Delimitation in a Multizonal Context: The Case of the Mediterranean”, in “Ocean Development & International Law”, 2007, vol. 38, issue 4, p. 381-398.
  • “Some Thoughts on the Extension of Existing Boundaries for the Delimitation of New Maritime Zones”, in Lagoni and Vignes (eds.), “Maritime Delimitation”, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague, 2006, p. 219-236.


  • Legal Advisor, UNEP/MAP (2022)
  • Trustee, Human Rights at Sea (2022-2023)
  • External Examiner, University of Malta (since 2019)
  • Member of the Coordinating Committee, European Society of International Law Interest Group on the Law of the Sea (since 2017)
  • Mentor, Mentoring programme of the American Society of International Law Women in International Law Interest Group (2021-2022)
  • Member, Italian Ministry of Defence roster of experts for scientific and technological research (since 2020)
  • Associate Editor, Brill Research Perspectives in the Law of the Sea (since 2016)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Questions of International Law (since 2013)