Vittorio de’ Medici-Rodrigues ’18



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: Privacy, surveillance, and emerging technologies; counter-terrorism; national security; public international law; legal theory


Vittorio de’ Medici’s research focuses on the intersection between public international law, global security, and legal theory. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) where he advised senior UN officials on the process and methodology for constructing an assessment tool aimed at generating quantitative data on the progress made by UN Member States in their compliance with international counter-terrorism obligations.

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 obtained a concentration on national security with a focus on emerging technologies, surveillance, and privacy.

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, when taken as a whole, the Security Council resembles a Hobbesian Leviathan. In light of this depiction, de’ Medici moves to consider an ontological question: what, then, 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, albeit emanating from its Charter) 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 area-specific. 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 State 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 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 previously worked as a legal affairs intern at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate where he reviewed UN Member States’ laws and regulations for compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. During this time, he had the opportunity to write a chapter of a toolkit for judges examining the application of international human rights law to the adjudication of terrorism-related cases. The toolkit was subsequently published by the United Nations and the Global Center on Cooperative Security.


MPP with Concentration in National Security, Duke University (May, 2020)
JSD, UC Berkeley (August, 2018)
LLM with Certificate of Specialization in International Law, 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