The International Law of War Crimes

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Law
  • Application code SS-LL211
  • Starting 2019
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The course examines, from a legal perspective, the rules, concepts, principles, institutional architecture, and enforcement of what we call international criminal law or international criminal justice, or, sometimes, the law of war crimes. 

Session: Three
Dates: 29 July – 16 August 2019
Lecturers: Professor Gerry SimpsonDr Stephen Humphreys, Dr Kate Leader, Dr Sara Kendall and Dr Michelle Lesh


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Introduction to legal methods or equivalent.

Programme structure

The focus of the course is the area of international criminal law concerned with traditional “war crimes” and, in particular, four of the core crimes set out in the Rome Statute (war crimes, torture as a crime against humanity, genocide and aggression). It adopts an institutional (Nuremberg, Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia), philosophical (Arendt, Shklar) and practical (the ICC) focus throughout. There will be a particular focus on war crimes trials and proceedings e.g. EichmannMilosevicPinochet and Goering et al.

Course outcomes

  •  Critically evaluate ongoing developments in international criminal law
  •  Demonstrate an understanding of how these developments relate to one another and to global politics more generally
  •  Understand some of the political and philosophical dilemmas surrounding the decision to convene war crimes trials
  •  Evaluate theories of international criminal law 


LSE’s Law Department is one of the world’s best. In the UK, it was ranked first for research outputs in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) and in the top 5 law departments overall by The Complete University Guide in 2018. In the 2017 QS World University rankings, the Department was ranked seventh (out of 200 departments worldwide).

Many important subjects were first taught and examined systematically from an academic perspective in LSE’s Department of Law. We pioneered the study of banking law, taxation law, civil litigation, company law, labour law, family law, aspects of welfare law, and studies of the legal system and the legal profession, and continue to be the leading thinkers in our field.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s law faculty.

Reading Materials

Simpson: Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law, (Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007).

Reference Texts

Kevin Jon Heller, The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law (2011).

Kenneth Anderson, ‘The Rise of International Criminal Law: Intended and Unintended Consequences’ 20 (2) European Journal of International Law (2009) 331 at

Osiel, Mark, Making Sense of Mass Atrocity, Cambridge University Press, 2009. 

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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