IR325      Half Unit
The Situations of the International Criminal Court

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jens Meierhenrich CBG.10.01


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, 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.

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.


This course is delivered through classes totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of in-person classes/classes delivered online. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

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:

Robert Cryer, Darryl Robinson, and Sergey Vasiliev, An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure, Fourth edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)

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

Martha Minow, Alex Whiting, and Cora True-Frost, eds., The First Global Prosecutor (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2015)

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

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

William A. Schabas, An Introduction to the International Criminal Court, Sixth edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)

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


Essay (100%) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: 9

Average class size 2019/20: 10

Capped 2019/20: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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