International Criminal Law - Crimes and Criminal Responsibility (LAWM061)

Staff - Convenor
Credit Value15
Academic Year2013/4
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesLAWM060: International Criminal Law – Institutions
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to enable postgraduate students to undertake a detailed study of four core international crimes, as well as aspects of individual criminal responsibility and defences to international criminal conduct. A critical approach will be taken which will ultimately lead to a more general consideration of the effectiveness of international criminal law with respect to the prevention and punishment of core international crimes.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. understand and critically analyse the law relating to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression;
  • 2. understand and critically analyse the law relating to the modes of liability in international criminal law and defences to international crimes;
  • 3. understand the theory and practice of international courts and tribunals in their interpretation of the relevant law;

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: Genocide

Seminar 2: Crimes against humanity

Seminar 3: War Crimes

Seminar 4: Aggression

Seminar 5: Individual criminal responsibility and defences to international crimes

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 & Teaching activities 12.5 hoursThe 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 handout. In addition, students work independently on both the formative detailed essay plan and the examination essay.
Guided independent study137.5 hoursIndependent 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

Bantekas, Ilias, Nash, Susan, Nackarel, Mark, International Criminal Law , London: Cavendish, 2007.
Cassese, A., International Criminal Law , Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2008.
Green, Leslie C., The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict , Third Edition, Juris Publishing, Manchester University Press, 2008.
International Committee of the Red Cross , Commentary of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 , Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1989.
McCormack, Timothy L.M. and Simpson, Gerry J. (eds), The Law of War Crimes, National and International Approaches , Kluwer Law International, 1997.
Sandoz, Yves, Swinarski, Christophe and Zimmermann, Bruno (eds), Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987.
Schabas, William A., An Introduction to the International Criminal Court , Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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, Genocide