Human Rights Law Centre

International Criminal Justice Unit


 Thai Judges at ICC

HRLC has a dedicated International Criminal Justice Unit, which conducts research and training on a range of international criminal justice matters. The Unit has considerable expertise in conducting research and training, knowledge transfer, capacity-building and technical support projects on national implementation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute.

The Unit has also hosted high-profile conferences, and organised seminars at the ICC Assembly of States Parties Meetings in partnership with States, the ICC and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

As much as possible, the Unit gives opportunities to students to contribute to its work through its internship and student research assistance programmes for University of Nottingham LLM students and graduates.




Key projects include:

  • Case Matrix Network Knowledge Hub - Cooperation and Judicial Assistance Database (CJAD): The Cooperation and Judicial Assistance Database (CJAD) will provide a central information hub on all aspects of co-operation legislation. It will contain all co-operation and judicial assistance lawsrelevant to the ICC Statute as well as the APIC. Through free universal access to CJAD, States will be able to gain knowledge, review, compare, and access online information regarding co-operation legislation. CJAD will be developed by Professor Olympia Bekou as an add-on to the National Implementing Legislation Database, a tool within the ICC Legal Tools Database.
  • ICC Legal Tools Project - National Implementation Legislation Database (NILD):  The ICJ Unit is one of twelve outsourcing partners of the International Criminal Court’s Legal Tools Project. The Legal Tools, which provide the ICC, States, Civil Society and researchers with free access to more than 60,000 documents on international criminal law and justice through several databases and legal research and reference tools. The Unit is developing a dynamic, fully-searchable database of national legislation implementing the ICC Statute for which it has sole responsibility. NILD is now widely cited as a reference by professionals and academics in online discussions and other online databases. 
  • Bridging the Gap - Ensuring Lasting Legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone: From July 2011- March 2012 this project aimed at increasing the capacity of the Sierra Leonean criminal justice system to operate according to international human rights standards. Relying upon both the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court of Sierra Leone, it identified best practices of these institutions in the context of Sierra Leone's transitional justice experience and developed a comprehensive integration strategy to be used by judges, prosecutors, lawyers, legal educators and non-governmental organisations. The project resulted in the creation of a Best Practice Guide. A final report has also been produced including an evaluation of the project's impact and the identification of the priority areas for future action.   
  • Training Courses: Since 2003, the ICJ Unit has been convening regional training courses to provide detailed technical training about the Rome Statute and national implementation, primarily for government officials responsible for ratification and implementation. Key sessions are provided by ICC staff, regional experts, and renowned academics in the field. In September 2012, the Unit held a two week course entitled International Criminal Law for thirty six judges from the Office of the Thai Judiciary which culminated in two days study visits to relevant institutions in The Hague. The delegation were received at the International Criminal Court by President Judge Sang-Hyun Song, at the International Court of Justice by Judge Greenwood and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by Judge Agius, Vice-President of the ICTY. In addition to a global training course in Nottingham , training courses have been held for representatives from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Asia Pacific , the Middle East and North Africa , and the Caribbean.
  • Bilateral Assistance: The Unit offers bilateral assistance to States which are in the process of implementing the ICC Statute. The assistance includes both remote technical support and visits to selected States in order to provide expert drafting assistance together with capacity-building workshops.  




Unit Head:   Professor Olympia Bekou

Core Staff:  Will Lowe; Emilie Hunter, Dr Annika Jones 

There have also been numerous Interns and Student Research Assistants who have also contributed to the Unit’s projects.


Unit Head Expertise

Professor Olympia Bekou is Professor of Public International Law  and Head of the International Criminal Justice Unit of the Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre.  A qualified lawyer, she specialises in international criminal law. Olympia has undertaken numerous capacity building missions, including in post-conflict situations (such as Uganda, DRC and Sierra Leone) and has provided legislation drafting assistance to Samoa (with legislation enacted in November 2007), Fiji and Jamaica.  She is responsible for the National Implementing Legislation Database of the International Criminal Court’s Legal Tools Project and has researched and taught extensively worldwide.




Publications include:

Olympia Bekou, 'Rule 11bis:  An examination of the process of Referrals to National Courts through ICTY jurisprudence', Fordham International Law Journal (forthcoming)

Olympia Bekou, 'A Case for Review of Article 88 ICC Statute:  Strengthening a Forgotten Provision', New Criminal Law Review (forthcoming)

Olympia Bekou, 'In the Hands of the State:  Towards and Effective Complementarity Regime', in C. Stahn, M. El Zeidy (eds), The International Criminal Court and Complementarity, from Theory to Practice, CUP, (forthcoming)


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email: HRLC@nottingham.ac.uk