International Criminal Law


Course Code:
LAW 334
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


The roots of modern international criminal law can be traced to the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes trials held after World War II. Since the establishment by the Security Council of the United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia twenty years ago, the field has experienced remarkable growth. The international community has created a range of new international criminal tribunals to investigate and prosecute international crimes. National courts are now also exercising an expanded domestic and universal criminal jurisdiction over international or transnational crimes. The substantive criminal law has also expanded, and notions of individual responsibility for international crimes have evolved and extend the reach of international criminal law. At the same time, new debates have emerged about the suitability of using criminal justice mechanisms to respond to mass atrocity situations. nnThis course will explore legal and institutional responses to transnational and international crime. It will examine traditional forms of international cooperation to address transnational crimes and the concept of universal jurisdiction that provides a basis for treating certain crimes as "international." It will cover the range of institutions created to punish international criminals, including the Nuremburg and Tokyo tribunals, the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the "mixed" international/domestic tribunals such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Cambodia war crimes tribunal, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. As these tribunals approach the end of their mandates, the International Criminal Court is assuming greater importance. The progress of the ICC will be considered and, so too, the role of the United States in all of these developments. Alternative institutional arrangements and options for responding to international crimes, such as truth commissions and amnesties will also be examined. nnThe course will also include: (1) the moral and political goals that motivate responses to international crimes; (2) the role of international politics and foreign policy considerations in shaping responses to international crimes; (3) the suitability of different institutional models for addressing international crimes. nnThe grade for this course will be based on a final research paper of 26 pages, double spaced. The topic should relate to a subject covered directly or indirectly by the syllabus or readings.nnElements used in grading: Class participation and final paper.

Back to the Top