International Criminal Law
An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.
The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability, defences and elements of international criminal procedure will also be covered.
Qualifying module options
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
This module explores a number of contemporary issues which have given rise to controversy within criminal justice processes with reference to different comparative models. A comparative method is employed to examine how these issues are treated across a range of different criminal justice systems.
Critical Issues in International Criminal Justice
This module builds upon the more conceptual and theoretical inquiries undertaken in Foundations of Criminal Justice by identifying emergent principles in the rapidly developing corpus of international criminal jurisprudence.
Consideration of the contribution of municipal legal systems to the pursuit of criminal justice in the international arena serves as a general introduction to the detailed doctrinal analysis of elements of crimes and defences, rules of evidence and procedure, and sentencing principles which comprises the bulk of the option.
Once identified and elaborated, rules and principles of international criminal law and procedure will be subjected to critical scrutiny, by drawing upon national and comparative legal perspectives, as well as general principles of international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights.
Detention and Imprisonment in the International Criminal Justice System
From the history of detention and imprisonment at the post-World War II International Military Tribunals, the course will progress to look at the penal regimes of the contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals, including the ICTY, ICTR, MICT, SCSL and ICC.
You will learn about the systems for and conditions in international remand detention and analyse the complaints and disciplinary procedures and oversight mechanisms operating within these international facilities.
Seminars will be devoted to discussions about the various penalties international criminal courts can impose, and the reasons international judges give for their imposition. You will also learn about life for international prisoners post-conviction, through an exploration of the various systems used to enforce international sentences of imprisonment.
Seminars will look at the degree of control international courts retain over these sentences and their responsibility for international prisoners while they are housed in national prisons. This module will also look at the remedies that should be and are available for international prisoners whose human rights have been violated, and address the question of whether it is necessary, feasible or desirable to create an international prison system.
Imprisonment and Human Rights
This module covers:
- human rights in prison
- place of imprisonment in the penal system
- conditions of imprisonment
- medical treatment of prisoners
- the prison regime and rights
- civil rights of prisoners
- security, order and discipline
- external control and supervision
- release of prisoners
- the future of imprisonment
International and Comparative Penal Law and Human Rights
This module covers:
- the development of international human rights law applicable to punishment
- sentencing principlies and international standards
- human rights as sentencing principles
- corporal punishment
- the death penalty
- life imprisonment
- indeterminate sentences
- community sanctions
- victims of crime and the penal process
- sentencing and punishment in international courts and tribunals
International Criminal Evidence
This module explores the strengths and weaknesses of different models of proof in both domesticand international criminal justice systems and the extent to which an international consensus is emerging around the principles of evidence and proof.
International Humanitarian Law
This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.
International Law on the Use of Force
This module looks at principles and laws governing unilateral and multilateral resort to force by states under the United Nations Charter and in customary international law. Instances where force is permissible will be considered as well as the more controversial claims to use force.
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice
A broadly-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles.
The module first tackles perennial conceptual and methodological issues relating to the nature of "philosophical" inquiry and the challenges of scepticism. Thereafter, the model reconsiders key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology.
Principles of Public International Law
The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include:
- nature of international law
- actors in the international legal system
- jurisdiction and state responsibility
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law
Following a review of the history of international refugee law, the module focuses on the legal context of forced displacement today, including the rights and obligations of States and the rights of individuals.
The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees are reviewed, with due regard also to human rights protection. Who is a refugee, and how decisions are made, are examined with reference to key terms, such as persecution, race, religion, political opinion and social group, and in light of selected contemporary issues, such as conscientious objection to military service, women refugees, flight from conflict, security, terrorism, and 'exclusion'.
The module also considers the legal standing of currently contested issues, such as the right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, procedural standards, the responsibility to determine asylum claims, and extra-territorial measures of interception.
Examples from different jurisdictions and the practice of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are used to focus attention on the adequacy of existing international mechanisms, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by migration, human smuggling, trafficking, internal displacement, complex emergencies (including protracted conflict) and humanitarian assistance.
United Nations Law
This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO).
- the UN's constitutional basis
- its legal personality and powers
- membership and budgetary matters
- representation and decision making
- sanctions regimes
- the UN's military options
- issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
- the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.