Vittorio de’ Medici-Rodrigues



Doctoral Committee: Katerina Linos (Chair), Christopher Kutz, Daniel Lee

Dissertation Topic: From an Executive Body into a Global Leviathan? An Evolutionary and Taxonomical Study of the Security Council

Concentrations: Counter-terrorism, the law of international organizations, the law of treaties, international human rights law, legal and political theory, policy analysis


Vittorio de’ Medici’s research focuses on the intersection between public international law, global security, and political theory. He has also written on the law of the European Union, comparative law, international human rights law, and the law of treaties. After the completion of his doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley, de’ Medici entered the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, where he concentrates in the application of quantitative methods to the study of international law.

In his doctoral dissertation, de’ Medici recounts the development of the U.N. Security Council from its inception at Dumbarton Oaks to its present form. The Security Council, he argues, presently exercises executive, legislative and judicial functions. Moreover, in its role as guarantor of international peace and security, it is unbound by law (i.e., legibus solutus). In short, the Security Council resembles a Hobbesian Leviathan. In light of this depiction, de’ Medici moves to consider an ontological question: what is the Security Council? After rejecting extant taxonomical models, he contends that the Security Council should be re-conceptualized as a sui generis entity (separate from the United Nations) holding sovereign powers over matters of international peace and security. de’ Medici, in advancing this argument, advocates for a reconceptualization of the concept of sovereignty from territorial to areal. The implications of his findings are profound. He demonstrates that international law, contrary to the dominant view on the subject, is no longer based on the principle of States’ consent.

The law of the European Union is another key area of de’ Medici’s research. In an article published at The North Carolina Journal of International Law, de’ Medici surveys the EU counter-terrorism laws and institutions. He argues that despite numerous reforms, the effectiveness of the EU counter-terrorism apparatus remains limited at best. Inter-state (European) security is divided amidst various institutions. Such establishments often have competing mandates and lack horizontal coordination (i.e., coordination among EU institutions). To solve this quandary de’ Medici puts forward the blueprints for a coalescing structure. He contends that by consolidating the various agencies dealing with inter-state security into a unified framework and by providing them with a meta-directive (i.e., the maintenance of a secure Union), horizontal coordination would be achieved. de’ Medici also advocates for the creation of an autonomous intelligence agency to solve vertical coordination problems (i.e., the reluctance by EU Member States to share their intelligence with EU institutions).

de’ Medici has also worked as a legal intern at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) where he participated in the review of States’ legislation to ensure compliance with Security Council Resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), and 2178 (2014). In addition, de’ Medici drafted a chapter of a toolkit for judges examining the application of international human rights law to the adjudication of terrorism-related cases.


MPP, Duke University (Expected, May, 2020)
JSD, UC Berkeley (August, 2018)
LLM, UC Berkeley (May, 2014)
MPhil, University of Cambridge (August, 2013)
JD, George Washington University (May, 2012)
Certificate in International Human Rights Law, Oxford University (August, 2010)


Vittorio de’ Medici-Rodrigues, From Architectural Anarchism to a Coalescent Framework: Making the Case for a Department of European Security, 43 N.C. J. INT’L L. 55 (2018)

Curriculum Vitae:

Vittorio De Medici-Rodrigues