Not available in 2019/20
LL4AS      Half Unit
International Criminal Law: Prosecution and Practice

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Devika Hovell


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Human Rights and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Criminology and Criminal Justice, Public International Law, Human Rights Law.


This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

This course examines the practice and procedure of international criminal law. Rather than examining the history and core crimes, the course focuses on the fora for prosecution of international crimes and the practice, procedure and politics of international prosecutions.

In terms of the forum for prosecution, we examine the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and hybrid tribunals such as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. We then consider the opportunities for prosecution of international crimes in domestic courts, looking in particular at the principle of universal jurisdiction. Finally, we turn to the International Criminal Court. We consider the foundation of authority of international criminal tribunals, the relationship between the various international criminal tribunals and controversial questions about jurisdiction in current cases.

In terms of practice and procedure, we examine the modes, limits, exclusion and enforcement of individual criminal responsibility. We will look at questions, theory and case law surrounding modes of liability, immunities, defences and state cooperation. 

Finally, we will consider future challenges for the prosecution of international crimes. The course will respond to current controversial issues in international criminal law, such as Palestine's accession to the Rome Statute, the selectivity of international criminal prosecutions, the relationship between domestic legal systems such as Libya and the ICC and the implications of these issues for the legitimacy of the international criminal law project.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Reading lists will be provided for each week’s seminar on Moodle. Indicative reading includes Jose Alvarez, ‘Crimes of States/Crimes of Hate: Lessons from Rwanda’ (1999) 24 Yale Journal of International Law 365; Henry Kissinger, ‘The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction’, Foreign Affairs (July 2001); Dapo Akande & Sangeeta Shah, ‘Immunities of State Officials, International Crimes and Foreign Domestic Courts’ (2010) 21(4) European Journal of International Law 815. Students may wish to refer to Robert Cryer et al., An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure (Cambridge, 2010), 2nd edition.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 30

Average class size 2018/19: 28

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills