LAW 465

Prospects for International Justice

Criminal Justice, Human Rights, International Law

Prosecutions of the most serious international crimes through international criminal tribunals and national courts have emerged as a visible yet uneven force on the global landscape.

At the International Criminal Court (ICC), envisioned to be the centerpiece of a “system” of international justice, there have been notable performance failings. Facing serious punitive measures from the Trump administration, the ICC -- which emerged in a period of unprecedented judicial construction -- now operates on a very difficult global terrain.

This course will examine some of the key issues arising from the ICC’s effort to render justice for crimes that have shocked the conscience of humankind. Through examining recent case law and practice, we will seek to better understand the progress and problems as well as the prospects for the ICC. We will explore some of the underlying problems and how this permanent Court can manage the challenges it is facing.    

To examine essential issues, where helpful, the readings and class discussion will occasionally draw on aspects of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal’s jurisprudence and practice. In class, with an eye to drawing lessons for the ICC’s experience in bringing justice for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, we will zero in on several key issues.

Specifically, we will explore

    * modes of establishment (multilateral treaty negotiations),
    * some of the substantive crimes  (crimes against humanity and war crimes),
    * theories of individual criminal liability (command responsibility),
    * expediting very lengthy proceedings and
    * securing the arrest of suspects.

Students will be expected to weigh the relevant statutory provisions, rules of procedure, pertinent case law and history with a focus on the implications for the future of the ICC. We will also refer to  the findings and recommendations of the Independent Expert Review.  

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