IR471      Half Unit
The Situations of the International Criminal Court

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Meierhenrich CBG.10.01


This course is available on the MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory, MSc in Theory and History of International Relations, MSc in Theory and History of International Relations and MSc in Women, Peace and Security. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application linked to the course selection on LSE for You.  Admission to the course is not guaranteed.

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 lectures in the LT.

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 will also receive feedback on their seminar participation.

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

Jens Meierhenrich (ed) 'The Practices of the International Criminal Court', Law and Contemporary Problems Special 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)

Additional readings:

Prosecutor v. Lubanga Dyilo, Judgment pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute, ICC-01/04-01/06 (ICC TC I, March 14, 2012)

Prosecutor v. Al Bashir, Warrant of Arrest for Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, ICC-02/05-01/09-1 (ICC PTC I, March 04, 2009)

Prosecutor v. Al Bashir, Decision on the Prosecution’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, ICC-02/05-01/09-3 (ICC PTC I, March 04, 2009)

Prosecutor v. Al Bashir, Judgment on the Appeal of the Prosecutor against the "Decision on the Prosecution's Application for a Warrant of Arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir,” ICC-02/05-01/09-73 (ICC AC, February 03, 2010)

Prosecutor v. Al Bashir, Second Decision on the Prosecution’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest, ICC-02/05-01/09-94 (ICC PTC I, July 12, 2010)

William Schabas, The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Robert Dryer et al., An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure, Third edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Gerhard Werle and Florian Jessberger, Principles of International Criminal Law, Third edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)


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

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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