International Criminal Law - Institutions (LAWM060)

Staff - Convenor
Credit Value15
Academic Year2013/4
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce and reflect critically upon major institutional developments in the field of international criminal law. It will consider the nature and function of a number of different international criminal justice institutions, their relative strengths and weaknesses and impact within the international community. It will also encourage an understanding of the role of international criminal justice institutions as part of a wider response to the commission of core international crimes, which may involve other accountability mechanisms

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. understand major institutional developments in the field of international criminal law;
  • 2. compare and contrast different accountability mechanisms with an understanding of their relative strengths and weaknesses;
  • 3. understand the relevant legal instruments and case law relating to the nature and function of international criminal justice institutions;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. use, in an effective manner, primary and secondary sources of international criminal law;
  • 5. use a range of sources appropriately to explain legal issues and reach conclusions;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. conduct independent study and group work, including the ability to present material developed through the mode of learning for group discussion; and
  • 7. research original and secondary sources for purposes of preparing, within a deadline, a coherent and analytical account of the results of the research.

Syllabus plan

Seminar 1: Introduction to international criminal law; the International Military Tribunals for Nuremberg and the Far East

Seminar 2: The ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Seminar 3: The International Criminal Court

Seminar 4: Internationalised criminal courts and tribunals

Seminar 5: International criminal justice and the State: issues of complementarity and cooperation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities12.5The module is divided into 5 fortnightly interactive lectures of 2h30 each, requiring active participation of the whole group. One of these seminars will include a debate on a particular issue of interest for the module. Under the guidance of the tutor, students will have to research the issue, write and present their arguments to the rest of the group. For all the lectures, students have to research and study a selection of the material recommended on the tutor's hand-out. In addition, students work independently on both the formative detailed essay plan and the examination essay.
Guided independent study137.5Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Detailed essay plan 1,500 words1-7Individualised written feedback
Contribution to the debate10-15 minutes1-7Individualised oral feedback, from the tutor and other students

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003,750 words1-7Formal written individualised feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3,750 words)1-7August-September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Cassese, A., International Criminal Law, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Cassese, Oxford companion to International Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Cryer et al., And Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Schabas, William A., An Introduction to the International Criminal Court, 4th edition (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Cassese, A., Gaeta, P., Jones, J. R. W. D., The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Oxford University Press, 2002)

Virginia Morris and Michael P. Scharf, An Insider’s Guide to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia: A Documentary History and Analysis (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Transnational Publishers, 1995)

Virginia Morris and Michael P. Scharf, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Transnational Publishers, 1998)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Sources:
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Sources:
International Criminal Court Sources:
Website of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

American Journal of International Law (AJIL)
European Journal of International Law (EJIL)
Criminal Law Forum du droit international (C L For)
International and Comparative Law Quarterly (ICLQ)
Journal of International Criminal Justice (JICJ)

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Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

International Criminal Law, Nuremberg