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Accountability for Atrocity Crimes


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.

  • This course only offers a place to a maximum number of 38 students.


In this course we examine global efforts to end impunity for atrocity crimes (i.e. genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing), some of world’s worst wrongs. We address basic questions of who are and can be held responsible for these crimes (e.g. individuals, states), what means are deployed to hold perpetrators to account (e.g. universal jurisdiction, international courts and tribunals, sanctions, and the use of force) and what these efforts mean in the real world. We are ultimately interested in knowing, whether, and under what conditions, efforts to ensure accountability for atrocity crimes yield tangible results for the aggrieved. We explore these questions in a multidisciplinary fashion and with the help of insights from real-world cases.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should obtain:
a) a good grasp of key concepts, issues, and debates on the possibility of accountability for atrocity crimes;
b) critical understanding of theoretical and empirical aspects of research in the field of human rights protection;
c) ability to harness insights from different disciplines (eg law, political science, history) in order to critically assess the problem of impunity and possibility of ending it;
d) good skills to conduct theoretically informed empirical research.


On the right side of programme front page of the studyguide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 7 seminars. Classes will be dedicated to (guest) lectures and group discussion. Students are required to participate actively in class discussion.
Attendance is mandatory.

Assessment method

Assessment for this course is based on three assignments

Assignment 1 Critical note

  • 20% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50).

Assignment 2 Critical note

  • 20% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated in case of a fail (grade < 5.50).

Final Essay

  • 60% of final grade

  • Resit is possible

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit takes the same form

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course. Students are also permitted to resit the 60% assignment if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list

The literature will consist of academic articles and policy documents, links to which will be provided in the syllabus.



Dr. Gjovalin Macaj