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Study information

International Criminal Law and Justice

Module titleInternational Criminal Law and Justice
Module codeLAW3911
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Annika Jones ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

International criminal law is an exciting and rapidly developing field of international law. Having emerged from the post Second World War tribunals, in the past 50 years it has grown and expanded in response to demands for effective international criminal justice. Serious violations of human rights, grave breaches of international humanitarian law and acts of aggression now frequently spark such demands. On the module, you will cover institutional, substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module is to use research-enriched teaching to provide you with an understanding of institutional, substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law. The module will examine key institutional developments in the field of international criminal law and encourage you to reflect critically on the nature, function, strengths and weaknesses of various international criminal justice mechanisms. It will also develop your understanding of the evolution and current scope of international crimes and aspects of individual criminal responsibility. This will enable you to gain a critical appreciation for the role that international criminal justice can and should play as part of a wider response to mass atrocity.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate a critical understanding and detailed knowledge of legal institutions that have been established to investigate and prosecute international crimes;
  • 2. demonstrate detailed knowledge and a critical understanding of the law relating to international crimes, aspects of criminal procedure and principles of individual criminal responsibility;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of a range of legal concepts, values, principles, institutions and procedures, and apply acquired legal knowledge to complex social and contextual problems;
  • 4. integrate and assess information from primary and secondary legal and social-legal sources using appropriate interpretative techniques;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. prepare analytical work that relies on efficiently and autonomously researching a wide range of relevant resources and engages with them in order to develop nuanced lines of argument; and
  • 6. communicate and engage in debate effectively and confidently, in a manner appropriate to the discipline.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • International criminal courts and tribunals: ICTY, ICTY, ICC, SCSL, ECCC
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Genocide
  • War crimes
  • The crime of aggression
  • Modes of liability in international criminal law
  • Available defences


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 activities2211 x 2 hour workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities32 x 1.5 hour assessment preparation and feedback/feedforward sessions
Guided Independent Study75Workshop preparation and reading
Guided Independent Study50Assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-6Individual written feedback; oral feedback upon request

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
Essay1002,000 words1-6Individual written feedback; oral feedback upon request

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2,000 words)1-6August/September re-assessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • C Stahn, A Critical Introduction to International Criminal Law (Cambridge University Press 2019)
  • R Cryer, D.Robinson and S Vasiliev, An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure (4th edn, Oxford University Press 2019)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

International Criminal Court sources:  

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)

Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL)

International Criminal Law Review (ICLR)

Journal of Conflict and Security Law (JCSL)

Criminal Law Forum (CFL)

Key words search

International criminal law, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity,  International Criminal Court 

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date