International Criminal Law

B565 is taught by T. Waters

What does it mean for criminal law to be international? Along with the monopoly on legitimate violence, the legal and bureaucratic power to define and sanction wrongful behavior is one of the core functions and definitions of the modern state. How does this function translate to the realm of inter-state relations?

In this course students will examine the institutions, processes, norms and substantive rules of international criminal law. The course considers international criminal law in its broader political context, as one response (among many) to episodes of mass violence and social disruption, as well as a mechanism for control and replication of values. It focuses in particular on how the international aspect the horizontality of legal relations in the state system shapes that response.

The course surveys the historical development of legal responses to war and atrocity, especially through the politics and jurisprudence of the principal international tribunals of the modern era. Particular attention will be paid to issues arising out of World War II, the Yugoslav dissolution, the African Great Lakes crisis, as well as other historical and contemporary conflicts. The entire course is a comparative legal exercise, considering various attempts to create international tribunals and domestic efforts to respond to mass atrocities.

Students will complete a take-home final exam, with active participation in class discussion factoring significantly into the final grade. There are no prerequisites, but courses in area studies, history, political science, international law, human rights, criminal law, and international relations will all prove complementary.