International Criminal Law - Crimes against Humanity and Genocide (LAWM652)

Lecturer(s)Dr Caroline Fournet
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
Pre-requisitesNone
Co-requisitesNone
Duration of ModuleOne term
Total Student Study Time150h: 15h seminars, 135h independent study

Module aims

To enable postgraduate students to undertake a detailed study of two of the crimes covered by International Criminal Law, which is a fast-growing legal subject. The focus of this 15 credit module is crimes against humanity and genocide and the module is based on an in-depth study of the different legal instruments and of the relevant case-law, at the international, regional and national levels. It will thus necessarily adopt a critical approach which will ultimately lead to a more general consideration on the effectiveness of International Criminal Law with respect to the prevention and punishment of both crimes against humanity and genocide.

Intended learning outcomes

Module-specific skills

1. Ability to analyse International Criminal Law principles and cases related to crimes against humanity and genocide.

2. Ability to understand the impact of the law and case law of crimes against humanity and genocide in domestic law.

3. Ability to understand the theory and practice used by the International Criminal Courts and Tribunals in their interpretation of the norms related to crimes against humanity and genocide.

4. Ability to understand legal issues raised by the notions and definitions of crimes against humanity and genocide and relate these to the debate between globalization and fragmentation of International Law.

5. Ability to identify practical problems faced and raised by the notions and definitions of crimes against humanity and genocide and relate these to the debate between globalization and fragmentation of International Law.

Discipline-specific skills

6. Ability to use, in an effective manner, primary and secondary sources of International Criminal Law.

7. Ability to apply general principles of law to International Criminal Law.

Personal and key skills

8. Capacity to conduct independent study and group work, including the ability to present material developed through the mode of learning for group discussion.

9. Capacity to research original and secondary sources for purposes of preparing, within a deadline, a coherent and analytical account of the results of the research.

Learning and teaching methods

The module is divided into 5 fortnightly seminars of 3 hours each, requiring active participation of the whole group under guidance of the tutor. At least one student will have to research, write and present a Paper to the rest of the group; all students should read this Paper in advance as well as study a selection of the material recommended on the tutor's handout. In addition, students work independently on the examination essay.

Assignments

Seminar essay, forming the basis of a presentation to the group, which is formatively assessed and does not count towards the end-of-module assessment (ILOs 1-9).

The aim of this assignment is to assess - as explained below - all the different intended learning outcomes.

This essay will assess the student's capacity to conduct independent study and research within a deadline and his/her ability to present his/her findings before the group (ILOs 8 and 9). For this essay, the student will have to demonstrate a capacity to identify legal and practical problems faced and raised by the notions and definitions of crimes against humanity and genocide (ILOs 4 and 5) as well as a full understanding and analysis of the International Criminal Law principles and cases related to crimes against humanity and genocide (ILO 1), including their significance and impact in both domestic law and International Law (ILOs 2, 4 and 5). The student will also have to show his/her ability to apply general principles of law to International Criminal Law (ILO 7) as well as his/her comprehension of the practice of the International Criminal Courts and Tribunals, including their interpretation of the norms related to crimes against humanity and genocide (ILO 3).

Ultimately, for the completion of this assignment, the student will have to demonstrate his/her capacity to use, in an effective manner, primary International Criminal Law resources and to research secondary sources for the purposes of preparing, and presenting, a coherent and analytical account of the results of the research (ILOs 6, 8 and 9).

Students will get individualised feedback, from both their tutor and from their peers, on their paper and on their presentation skills.

Assessment

The above-detailed assignment is a formative assessment of 3,750 words, on which each student will receive individualised feedback.

The summative assessment takes the form of one essay, examining students' detailed knowledge of the significance and jurisprudence of the law of crimes against humanity and genocide (ILOs 1-7, 9). This assessment will assess all the intended learning outcomes, apart from the personal and key skill of presenting material before the group (which is however assessed in the above-detailed assignment).

Indeed, for the purposes of the essay, the student will have to demonstrate his/her ability to pursue independent research and to produce a coherent and analytical account of the findings of this research within a precise and limited timeframe (ILO 9).

Furthermore, the student will have to show his/her ability to identify legal and practical problems faced and raised by the notions and definitions of crimes against humanity and genocide (ILOs 4 and 5), to understand and to analyse International Criminal law principles and cases related to crimes against humanity and genocide (ILO 1), including their impact in domestic law and their significance with respect to International Law (ILOs 2, 4 and 5). The student will also have to demonstrate his/her capacity to apply general principles of law to International Criminal Law (ILO 7) as well as a complete understanding of the theory and practice used by the International Criminal Courts and Tribunals in their interpretation of the norms related to crimes against humanity and genocide (ILO 3).

Ultimately, the student will have to show his/her ability to use, in an effective manner, primary and secondary sources of International Criminal Law (ILO 6).

Students will get formal written individualised feedback on the assessment.

Syllabus plan

Seminar 1: Introduction to International Criminal Law: the law and the institutions

Seminar 2: Crimes Against Humanity: Definition and Legal Regime

Seminar 3: Crimes Against Humanity: International and National Prosecutions

Seminar 4: Genocide: Definition and Legal Regime

Seminar 5: Genocide: International and National Prosecutions

Indicative basic reading list

Bantekas, Ilias, Nash, Susan, Nackarel, Mark, International Criminal Law , London : Cavendish, 2007.

Bassiouni, M. Cherif, Crimes Against Humanity in International Criminal Law , Kluwer Law International, Second Revised Edition, 1999.

Cassese, A., International Criminal Law , Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Schabas, William A., Genocide in International Law - The Crimes of Crimes , Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Schabas, William A., An Introduction to the International Criminal Court , Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Note that a specific reading list will be distributed for each seminar.

Web page

http://law.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/modules/crimesagainsthumanityandgenocide.shtml