Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment One essay of 5000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Display a knowledge and understanding of the general principles of international criminal law.

2. Present critical and well-informed argument relating to the implementation of general principles of International Criminal Law.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues and controversies related to each principle.

4. Display a knowledge and understanding of rules on criminal liability emanating from several legal jurisdictions.

5. Locate and critically evaluate the relevant literature and materials in this field and use them in critical discussion of the subject.


1. Locating individual criminal responsibility in the context of mass atrocities.

2. The responsibility of a superior for acts of a subordinate.

3. Modes of participation in crimes: making sense of who did what in situations involving a plurality of actors.

4. Official capacity and immunity: tensions between international criminal law and current general international law.

5. Grounds for excluding criminal responsibility: considering mitigating factors in the context of war.

6. Concurrence of Crimes: dealing with conceptual overlaps of international crimes.

7. Sentencing: theories and rules relevant for the punishment of war criminals.

Brief description

This module will enable students to study the legal problems associated with
extending and applying rules originating from domestic criminal law in the international criminal law domain and the practical difficulties of harmonizing principles distilled from various parts of the world in the adjudication of cases. This module will allow students to gain an insight into how other legal jurisdictions resolve similar issues.

This module will introduce students to the unique nature of international criminal law rules vis-a-vis similar doctrinal concepts under domestic law. Students will be exposed to major legal systems of the world such as Common Law and Civil Law as well as other systems in the supranational criminal law community.

International Criminal Law enforcement institutions, owing to their international status, have traditionally resorted to general principles of law to assist them in their search for applicable rules of international law. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have, for example, both resorted to national laws to assist them in determining the relevant international law. Similarly Article 21 of the Rome Statute establishes a hierarchy of sources of law that should be applied by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in implementing statutory provisions. This module examines the challenges faced by these institutions in harnessing and harmonizing principles from several major legal systems of the world for the purpose of resolving international criminal liability issues.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication is developed by the presentation of information and argument in written answers and in a more informal way by the use of Blackboard to encourage communication among students and between students and staff. Oral communication skills are developed at the residential study schools. WRitten communciation assessed only.
Improving own Learning and Performance Distance learning, by its very nature, requires strong individual learning and performance structures and this module further develops key skills in this area.
Information Technology The module is delivered almost entirely by distance learning which relies heavily on the use of electronic information resources and on-line learning and teaching.
Personal Development and Career planning Independent learning enhances time management skills. Studying the module will also develop an enhanced capacity for critical thought and the ability to work independently.
Problem solving By the examination and discussion of actual and hypothetical case studies.
Research skills By analysis of international conventions and appreciation of the context in which they have been promulgated.
Subject Specific Skills None.
Team work Team working skills will be encouraged and developed in group activities and discussions at the residential study schools.


This module is at CQFW Level 7