IR325      Half Unit
The Situations of the International Criminal Court

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Meierhenrich CLM.6.07


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.


Students must have completed International Political Theory (IR200) and International Organisations (IR203).

Course content

This taught seminar introduces students to the practices of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  Focusing on the ICC's ongoing investigations and prosecutions - its so-called 'Situations' - the courses exemplifies the politics of international law in the context of one of the most embattled international organisations in the international system.  On the foundation of  'practice theory', it blends methodological approaches from law, the social sciences and the humanities.  By adopting an evolutionary perspective to the ICC, the seminar raises - and answers - pertinent theoretical questions about institutional design and development of in international politics.  Empirical cases to be discussed include the settings of the ICC's nine Situations (the DRC, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Cote d'Ivoire, and Mali) as well as the territories of the ICC's preliminary examinations (Afghanistan, Columbia, Georgia, Guinea, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine, and Ukraine).  Students will learn to work with both court documents and theoretical texts.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of seminars in the ST.

In line with departmental policy, students on the course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Students are required to research and write one essay (2,500 words).  In addressing a given essay topic, students must integrate theory and history and bring empirical evidence to bear on the research question they have chosen. Essays must be fully - and carefully - referenced using one of the major conventions consistently. Submissions are due in Week 8 and must be in hard copy.  Feedback is provided by the course teacher, who is responsible for marking essays.

Several criteria are applied in the evaluation of student essays, notably: (1) originality of argument. (2) use of literature: has relevant scholarship been digested and put to good use? (3) soundness of analysis: is the inquiry comprehensive and logically consistent? (4) organisation of evidence: have argument and evidence been introduced and presented in a compelling manner? (5) validity of findings: does the argument remain valid when applied empirically? (6) clarity of presentation: are grammar, punctuation and references flawless?

Indicative reading

Indicative reading list:

Jens Meierhenrich (ed) 'The Practices of the International Criminal Court, Law and Contemporary ProblemsSpecial Issue (Vol.76, Nos 3 &4: 2014)

Sarah M H Nouwen, Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan (Cambridge: CUP, 2013)

Benjamin N Schiff, Building the International Criminal Court (Cambridge: CUP, 2008)

Carsten Stahn (ed), The Law and Practice of the International Criminal Court (Oxford: OUP, 2015)

Patrick S Wegner, The International Criminal Court in Ongoing Intrastate Conflicts: Navigating the Peace-Justice Divide (Cambridge: CUP, 2015)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: 11

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Capped 2016/17: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication