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The University of Southampton

LAWS6150 International Criminal Justice

Module Overview

Genocide in Myanmar? War crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria? Building on the precedent of the post-Second World War trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo, the international community has undertaken to bring individual perpetrators of atrocities to justice. The task of defining the elements of international crimes, designing procedures to provide fair but efficient trials for those in leadership positions within a state, and preventing realpolitik from prevailing over justice presents legal, practical and political challenges. The International Criminal Justice module provides you with an opportunity to engage in a detailed analysis of the emerging field of substantive, procedural and institutional law as it concerns the most serious violations of human rights amounting to international crimes. Through analysis of the case law of various international criminal courts and tribunals (e.g. International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), you will be introduced to the substantive law of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. You will also study the proceedings and developments before international, internationalised and domestic criminal courts, as well as purely investigative mechanisms (e.g. International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria), focusing on the role of the different actors, including prosecutors, the accused, victims and judges.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Written feedback on coursework plan and bibliography plus general feedback in class.
  • A2. the conventional and customary international law concerning genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity
  • A3. the role of the different actors in the international criminal justice process, their powers and rights
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • B1. demonstrate critical awareness of the sources of international criminal law within the broader framework of public international law
  • B2. analyse the essential elements of international crimes in terms of the ways in which these have been charged and prosecuted before the courts
  • B3. apply the principles and rules of international criminal law to a practical case study
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • C1. undertake independent research and access primary and secondary sources effectively.
  • C2. communicate arguments effectively and reference sources appropriately.
  • C3. assess and evaluate competing and complementary solutions to the challenges of a globalised environment.


The following topics are indicative of those which will be covered. This is a very dynamic field and changes in content, order, name and scope of topics may be necessary from year to year to reflect current developments. The precise content of the module in any particular year will be confirmed in a module overview document, which will be distributed via the module Blackboard site before the first lecture. - Substantive law on genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as developed in the jurisprudence of international, internationalised and domestic criminal courts; - International law principles of jurisdiction and immunities, including universal jurisdiction and head of state immunity; - Modes of liability, including complicity and joint criminal enterprise, and superior or command responsibility; - The fair trial rights of the accused and available defences; - The rights of victims and participation of victims in an international or ‘hybrid’ criminal process

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: One 2-hour seminar per week Learning methods include: - Directed and additional reading, as per distributed reading lists reproduced on Blackboard; - Engagement with current legal developments and media reports to ensure that you can relate the material being discussed in class to contemporary controversies

Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list




Coursework plan


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (4500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (4500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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