LL437E      Half Unit
International Criminal Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Humphreys NAB6.15


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

Available to Executive LLM students only. This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.


Some background in public international law is helpful for this course. If an introduction or refresher is needed, a standard textbook such as Malcolm Shaw's International Law is recommended.

Course content

The course looks at the history of and background to international criminal law and at its substantive content—its origins in the early Twentieth Century, its purported objectives, and the core crimes set out in the Rome Statute over which the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide). The course will then examine in more detail a number of areas of contemporary interest (at least two from among the following: universal jurisdiction, immunity, torture, terrorism, international tribunals). The course is mainly directed at the conceptual problems associated with the prosecution of war criminals and, more broadly, legalised retribution.


24-26 hours of contact time.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative exam question of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

Indicative reading

Cryer, Friman, Robinson & Wilmshurst, An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure (Cambridge), 2nd edition (2009)

Simpson, Law, War and Crime, Polity (2007).

Indicative reading

Gary Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance. The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton, 2000); Judith Shklar, Legalism (Harvard, 1964); Mark Osiel, Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory & the Law (Transaction Publishers, 1997); T McCormack & G Simpson, The Law of War Crimes (Kluwer 1997); W Schabas, The International Criminal Court (Cambridge, 2001); H Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (Penguin, 1997).


Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).

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: Law

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills