International Criminal Law
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Tara Smith
Overall aims and purpose
This module will provide students with a balanced and thorough understanding of the fundamentals of International Criminal Law. It will take students through the evolution of modern International Criminal Law, to and students will focus on the development and interpretation of the core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. This module will also engage students in a close examination of the legal, political and philosophical foundations of international criminal law by examining the work of key international criminal courts and tribunals. In general terms, by the end of the course, students will emerge with a solid understanding of the evolution of International Criminal Law, its underlying principles and values, as well as many substantive rules relating to the prosecution of the four core crimes.
Students taking International Criminal Law will receive a balanced and thorough understanding of the fundamentals of International Criminal Law, which focuses on individual criminal responsibility for international crimes. Students will examine relevant laws and leading cases ranging from the judgments of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo to the explosion of jurisprudence that began with the ad hoc tribunals in the 1990s responding to the commission of international crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the four core crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Some time will be devoted to the the laws of armed conflict, which is essential for a complete understanding of the concept of war crimes. Students will be taught not just about the content of the rules, but also how to apply them, through examination of contemporary issues and situations of importance in international law, and case studies. The approach taken in the course encourages critical thinking and reflection, as well the development of a global perspective.
As this course is open to MA students as well as LLM students, the content of the course may need to be adjusted depending on the legal background of the students in the class in any given year.
BU Marking Criteria for B- to B+ in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
BU Marking Criteria for C- to C+ in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
BU Marking Criteria for A- to A* in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the development and objectives of International Criminal Law, including the main institutions that apply this law.
Master the foundational concepts, principles, fundamental rules and core crimes in the field of international criminal law, and be able to apply these in the context of contemporary international challenges.
Engage directly with primary legal materials as well as advanced scholarly works, and be able to assess critically leading decisions of international courts and tribunals, and the contribution that these decisions have made.
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the challenges that this area of the law has faced and will continue to face.
Develop and employ enhanced research skills and methods of communication appropriate to this field of international law.
This assessment will require students to produce a report in the form of a legal brief which critically explains and practically analyses an aspect of international criminal law for a specified audience.
The assessment will require students to develop an essay which critically analyses a topic in the field of international criminal law.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
The module will consist of 5 x 2 hour teaching blocks and 4 x 3 hour teaching blocks to allow appropriate time for discussion and debate on key topics on a weekly basis. Essential preparatory readings and materials will be notified to students in advance of seminars. For each seminar, students will be expected to have prepared essential reading together with any special assignments given for that particular class. Most of the readings that are set will come from the core text, with some additional readings. The instructor will consolidate initial foundational understandings acquired from preparatory study with lecturing and explanation of complex issues of theory, law and practice and will also contextualise topics by using real life examples and case studies. Audiovisual materials may be used to enhance the learning experience. Students will be expected to be able to engage in dialogue and discussion about substantive issues for each seminar, and be actively engaged in activities that will enhance their understanding.
Private study either alone or within study groups - students will be given significant direction and advice by module leader with respect to private study topics and objectives.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced level legal theories and legal findings, related to topics like the functioning of legal institutions, criminal offenses, criminal procedure, legal culture, and the social function of law.
- Demonstrate the ability to develop and consolidate legal research skills via the dissertation which will involve analytical examination of caselaw, legislation and international convention. Also the student will deepen their legal reasoning ability on account of extensive analysis of legal journals and academic commentary.
- demonstrate the ability to work with others in a team to achieve reasoned, critical, comparative perspectives upon legal questions.
- present reasoned, critical, comparative responses to the views of others on legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
- present to others from a specialist or non-specialist background, reasoned, critical, comparative presentations relating to legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
- Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of basic principles, advanced level theories and explore the many traditional and contemporary challenges in International Law. They will receive a balanced education in the relevant law, theory, politics and practice.
- Students will also acquire expertise within the particular programme on which they are enrolled. Careful guidance over optional module choices and close supervision of dissertations will ensure that the students fully develop expertise in the area of interest.
- Students will be taught through a range of methods, balancing theory and practice, and aiming at developing critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary International Lawyers.
- write sustained critical expositions of any given area of the legal subjects studied and present the findings clearly, logically and coherently;
Resource implications for students
Students will be directed to resources already available to them via the University Library. If a new core textbook is required by students in the future, then consideration will be given to the cost of such a resource when making such a decision.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxl-4041.html
Talis reading list
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- M1AT: LLM International Criminal Law & Intl Human Rights Law year 1 (LLM/ICLHR)
Optional in courses:
- L3AA: Diploma Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice year 1 (DIP/CRIM)
- M1AM: LLM Law and Criminology year 1 (LLM/LC)
- L3BE: MA Criminology and Law year 1 (MA/CAL)
- L3AB: MA Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice year 1 (MA/CRIM)