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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5146M International Criminal Law

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Ilaria Zavoli

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The course looks at the rules, concepts, principles, institutional architecture, and enforcement of what we call international criminal law or international criminal justice. The focus of the course is the area of international criminal law concerned with the so-called core crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression. It adopts a historical, philosophical and practical focus throughout, though the course is mainly directed at the conceptual problems associated with the prosecution of war criminals and, more broadly, legalised retribution. Attention, in this respect, will be directed towards the dilemmas associated with bureaucratic criminality and individual culpability.


The objective of this course is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the institutional, substantive, and procedural aspects of international criminal law. Students will learn about legal issues that lie at the heart of the international criminal justice system and about the challenges faced by international criminal tribunals. Students will also learn about the political context in which these courts function. Especially in a post-globalisation world where nationalism and regionalism gain traction at the cost of universalism, international criminal justice mechanisms have increasingly come under fire. Students will gain insight into these developments and will be able to engage with critique of international criminal justice and the international legal order more broadly.


The topics that will be covered in this course include:
The history of international criminal justice
The Institutional structure of the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR)
The International Criminal Court (ICC), and the "mixed Tribunals"
Sources of international criminal law
Substantive law: elements of crimes, criminal responsibility of (military and civilian) superiors, grounds for excluding liability
International criminal procedure: phases of international criminal procedure, evidentiary rules, fact-finding impediments, fair trial principles, in absentia trials
Prosecution of international crimes before national courts
Concurrence of jurisdiction between states and international criminal courts and tribunals
Victims in international criminal procedure

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours135.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work2 x 1,500 word blog posts100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:29:04


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