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International Criminal Law


Admission requirements



The emphasis of the course is placed on contemporary international criminal law as applied by national and international courts. The rationale and functioning of the system of international criminal law will be critically discussed by focusing on substantive as well as institutional aspects. Attention is paid to the establishment of the main international criminal tribunals (ICTY, ICTR, ICC), the prosecution of international crimes by national courts, the relationship between the ICC and the Security Council, as well as to the definition of the core crimes, namely aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and the importance of the fundamental principles of legality and personal guilt. Staff members of the tribunals may be invited to participate in the teaching of this course. The course is linked to the research programme ‘securing the rule of law in a world of multilevel jurisdiction.’

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course aims to provide an overview of international criminal law as a specific and still growing branch of public international law. The student will gain insight in the contemporary practice of international criminal law by analyzing its application by national and international courts, but also by studying its evolution and background.

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
Knowledge: After successfully completing this course, the student has a thorough knowledge of and insight into the existing legal framework, the fundaments and the system of international criminal law. The student has a profound knowledge of the specific rules and regulations that were studied during the course and of the interrelationship between those rules. Moreover, the student is well aware of the political and social context in which these rules are applied.
Academic skills and attitude: After successfully completing this course, the student is able to interpret and analyze the relevant literature and sources in a critical manner and to present solutions for legal problems after thorough legal research. The student is also trained to present these solutions in a structured way in the form of a written assignment. The students is also able to perform legal research (collection of data and relevant literature, interpreting and analyzing the data and literature, draw conclusions, evaluate and propose recommendations).


Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 5 (1 per week)

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. R.W. Heinsch and others

  • Required preparation by students: Reading of suggested materials


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5 (1 per week)

  • Names of instructors: Dr. R.W. Heinsch and others

  • Required preparation by students: Reading the materials and preparing answers to the questions and issues raised in the reader. Students will have to write and hand in one paper during the course.

Other methods of instruction

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Exam (75%)

  • Paper (25%)

Submission procedures
The paper must be handed in during the course. The exact date is specified in the outline which is handed out in the first lecture of the course and will also be published on Blackboard.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered on “Blackboard”:

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • An introduction to international criminal law and procedure, R. Cryer and others, 2nd ed., CUP, 2010.

  • Constraints on the waging of war, F. Kalshoven and L. Zegveld, ICRC, 2001 (

Course information guide:

  • Outline as included in the Reader International Criminal Law 2010/2011 and posted on Blackboard


  • Reader International Criminal Law 2010/2011

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Blackboard


Register on Blackboard.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. R.W. Heinsch

  • Work address: KOG, Office B1.26

  • Contact information: via email

  • Telephone number: 071-52777578 (secretary)

  • E-mail:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Division: Public International Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, Office B1.21

  • Opening hours: 9.00-17.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071-5277578

  • E-mail:



Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.