International Criminal Law


After successfully completed this course, students will be able to:

  1. identify concepts, terminology, sources and arenas of international criminal law;
  2. apply common concepts of criminal law in the field of international criminal law;
  3. apply the provisions of Rome Statute when dealing with cases pertaining to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court;
  4. identify the specificities of the prosecution of international crimes before national and international courts;
  5. and develop arguments at the crossroads of criminal justice and politics at international level.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Athina Sachoulidou


Weekly - 3

Total - 36

Teaching language



This course is offered as part of the Bachelor in Law (Licenciatura em Direito) at NOVA School of Law. To

attend the course, it is expected that the students have thorough knowledge of criminal law (with a

particular focus on substantive criminal law) and basic knowledge of public international law . The

classes will be offered in English.


Legal texts

  • The Geneva Conventions (12 August 1949), available at:
  • Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (25 May 1993; adopted by Resolution 827), available at:
  • Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (8 November 1994, adopted by Resolution 955), available at:
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (17 July 1998) available at:
  • ICC Elements of Crimes ( 9 September 2002 ) , available at:
  • ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence (3-10 September 2002), available at:

Books (available at NSL Library)

  • Satzger, H. (2018), International and European Criminal Law , 2 nd edition, Munich; Oxford; Baden-Baden: C.H. Beck
  • Triffterer, O./Ambos, K. (eds.) (2016), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. A commentary, 3 rd edition, Munich: Beck

Articles (selection)

  • Askin, K. (1999), Crimes within the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Criminal Law Forum 10: 33-59
  • Clark, R. (2001), The Mental Element in International Criminal Law: The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Elements of Offences, Criminal Law Forum 12: 291-334
  • Cryer, R. (2006), International Criminal Law vs State Sovereignty: Another Round?, European Journal of International Law 16 (5): 979-1000
  • Damaska M. (2008), What is the Point of International Criminal Justice, Chicago-Kent Law Review 83: 329
  • Graefrath, B. (1990), Universal Jurisdiction and an International Criminal Court, European Journal of International Law (1990): 67-88
  • Kai, A. (1999), General Principles of Criminal Law in the Rome Statute, Criminal Law Forum 10: 1-32
  • Nsereko, D. (1999), The International Criminal Court: Jurisdictional and Related Issues, Criminal Law Forum 10: 87-120
  • Philips, R. (1999), The International Criminal Court Statute: Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Criminal Law Forum 10: 61-85
  • Schabas, W. (2001), International Criminal Court: The Secret of its Success, Criminal Law Forum 12: 415-428
  • Tallgren, I. (2002), The Sensibility and Sense of International Criminal Law, European Journal of International Law 13 (3): 561-595

Optional Readings & Suggestions

  • Babaian S. (2018), The International Criminal Court, An International Criminal World Court, Jurisdiction and Cooperation Mechanisms of the Rome Statute and its Practical Implementation, Cham: Springer Nature
  • Bassiouni C. (ed.) (2008), International Criminal Law, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff
  • Boas, G./Bischoff J./Reid N./Don Taylor B. (2011), International Criminal Procedure, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Brown, B. (ed.) (2011), Research Handbook on International Criminal Law, Cheltenham; Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited
  • Cassese, A. (ed.) (2009), The Oxford companion to international criminal justice, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press
  • Cryer, R./Friman, H./Robinson, D./Wilmshurst, E. (2010), An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure, 2 nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Grover, L. (2014), Interpreting Crimes in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Huikuri S. (2019), The Institutionalization of the International Criminal Court, Cham: Springer Nature
  • Van der Wilt, H./Paulussen, C. (eds.) (2017), Legal responses to transnational and international crimes, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited
  • Zeegers K. (2016), International Criminal Tribunals and Human Rights Law. Adherence and Contextualization, Dordrecht: Springer Nature

Teaching method

The course will consist of short lectures (to be organised with the help of MS Power Point; the respective slides will be sent to the students after each class) and seminar-style discussion. The lecturer will also use online polls and questionnaires to be designed with Mentimeter or similar applications to assist students in expressing their views as well as in revising regularly the course material.

Evaluation method

The students will be assessed on the basis of a continuous evaluation model consisting of the following parts:

  1. Participation                                                                              10 % (2/20 points)
  2. Mid-term exercise                                                                      30 % (6/20 points)
  3. Final exam                                                                                  60 % (12/20 points)

In this model, the following assessment criteria and standards will be applied:

  • Participation: Students are expected to actively participate in the classes by making use of the reading material to be uploaded on the Moodle platform as well as by getting inspired by brainstorming questions to be posted regularly on the same platform the day before the class. To this end, they should be prepared to elaborate on the course materials, to participate in the in-class debates and to give thoughtful feedback to their colleagues. Mere attendance does not count as participation, and, thus, it is not graded. The grades corresponding to this task will be announced by the end of Week 12.
  • Mid-term exercise: Students are expected to solve an online quiz (to be designed on the Moodle platform) using the teaching and reading material corresponding to Week 4-8 (to be updated depending on the progress achieved throughout the semester). This will be an open-book task in English; use of dictionaries will be allowed. The grades corresponding to this task will be announced by the end of Week 12.
  • Final exam: This is a 3-hour written exam, in the context of which students will have to answer multiple-choice or open questions and solve exercises. The language of the exam is English. The exam will be an open-book one. The final grades will be announced in two weeks after the exam day.

Should the final exam grades exceed the ones corresponding to the continuous evaluation model, the final exam grade will prevail.

Subject matter

  • Introduction to the concepts ¿international justice¿, ¿international crimes¿ and ¿international criminal law¿
  • ICL History: from the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal to the International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Sources of ICL
  • The jurisdiction of the ICC 
  • Modes for establishing criminal liability and grounds for excluding it before the ICC
  • The structure of an international crime
  • Genocide and crimes against humanity
  • War crimes and aggression
  • Basic principles governing the procedure before the ICC
  • Prosecution of international crimes before national courts
  • Practical sessions - ICL exercises


Programs where the course is taught: