Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Advanced Introduction to International Criminal Law LAW5039

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course examines a topical and rapidly developing area of International Law. It considers the actions which have been classed as international crimes, the criminal responsibility of individuals under International Law, and the mechanisms provided by International Law for the enforcement of these offences and the prosecution of those accused. The substantive Criminal Law examined in this course arises under International Humanitarian Law, particularly the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977.


10 x 2 hour seminars in semester 1.

Requirements of Entry

The course is open to all LLM students subject to the requirements of the LLM programme on which a student is enrolled.

Excluded Courses





The course is assessed by an essay of 1500 words (25%) and a 2 hour final examination (75%).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course aims to foster a critical understanding of substantive issues in international criminal law and to develop certain "transferable" skills. In particular, the course aims to:

■ Enhance knowledge and understanding of international criminal law;

■ Develop powers of legal reasoning, problem solving and critical analysis;

■ Encourage in-depth and independent learning;

■ Develop research skills by requiring students to undertake an assessed research project;

■ Provide students with practice in information technology such as the internet and Lexis; and

■ Provide students with the experience of working in groups.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students should:

1. Have a critical understanding of the role of international criminal law;

2. Be able to analyse international criminal law problems and identify the relevant rules and issues;

3. Be able to use library and information technology resources to research primary and secondary international law sources; and

4. Be better able to construct written legal argument.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course summative assessment.