International Criminal Law

Course leader: Prof Dr Ketevan Khutsishvili
Home institution: Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia
Brief description of the course

The course seeks to enable students to develop awareness of the basic concepts of substantive international criminal law. During the course, we will explore the development of international criminal law, the international crimes such as ‘genocide’, ‘crime against humanity’, ‘war crimes’, and institutions of international criminal justice in historical and contemporary context. A particular emphasis will be placed on the Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force in 2002. Against the background of the preparatory work of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and its current proceedings we will identify and evaluate states' approaches to the Court and possible political and legal implications. To familiarize students with the nature, sources and evidences of international criminal law; individual and group responsibilities and defenses; past forms of and possibilities for domestic incorporation of international criminal law; state duties under international law; enforcement competencies under international law; domestic and international fora for enforcement and related matters; core crimes under international law (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, crimes against peace); to consider relevant professional and ethical issues; and to integrate issues covered with analytical and practical skills necessary for practice of international criminal law in domestic and international fora.

Topic list

Introduction, History, Sources and Principles of International Criminal Law

Jurisdiction and immunity in International Criminal Law

Modes of criminal responsibility for international crimes (individual, superior responsibility)

Ad hoc Tribunals: Nuremberg and Tokyo

The role of Domestic Courts and International Court of Justice in the development of International Criminal Law: Eichmann, Barbie, Pinochet, DRC v Belgium

Crime of Aggression

War Crimes


International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

International Criminal Court: establishment and main legal framework

United Nations Security Council and International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court: practice to-date

Shaw trials, outlaw states? Victors’ Justice?

Reading list

Triffterer, O., Ambos, K. (eds.) (2016) Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – A Commentary, 3rd Edition, C.H.Beck-Hart-Nomos

Cassese, A., et al (2011), Oxford University Press, International Criminal Law: Cases and Materials

Kovras, I., (2011) The UN’s Moral Responsibility in the “Spill-Over” of Genocide from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in African Journal of International and comparative Law 19.

Schabas, W. (2010) Oxford Commentaries on International Law: The International Criminal Court, A Commentary on the Rome Statute

Heinsch, R., (2010) The Crime of Aggression After Kampala: Success or Burden for the Future? გვ.713-743 in Goettingen Journal of International Law 2 (2010)2

Gaeta, P., (2009) The Genocide Convention: A Commentary

Cassese, A., (Editor-in-chief) (2009), The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice

Cryer, R., et al (2013), Cambridge University Press, An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure

Minogue, E.C., (2008) Increasing the Effectiveness of the Security Council’s Chapter VII Authority in the Current Situations Before the International Criminal Court in 61 Vand. L.Rev.

Ratner, S.R., Abrams, J.S., (2008) Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in International Law: Beyond the Nuremberg Legacy

Registration and fees