LW7141 - International Criminal Procedure

What will I learn on this module?

Taught by academic experts, this module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of international criminal procedure, from the initiation of an investigation to the appeals process. The module will focus on the International Criminal Court’s legal process and will allow you to compare and contrast procedures at hybrid international tribunals such as the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia, as well as procedures that were in place at the two ad hoc tribunals. Adopting a doctrinal and a socio-legal focus, you will study the latest case law on the interpretation of the Rome Statute and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence and you will evaluate the wider scholarly literature on procedural challenges and complexities. You will critically analyse controversial features such as the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (including decisions not to prosecute in ‘the interests of justice’), victim participation, the preliminary examination process, and assessments of admissibility. You will also examine, from theoretical, comparative and practical perspectives, the legal process of international criminal tribunals vis-à-vis the rights and guarantees for a fair trial as enshrined in international and regional human rights instruments as well as in common law and civil law traditions. By the end of the module you will be able to appraise possible improvements and reforms to international criminal procedure.

Weekly workshop schedule

1. Introduction to the international criminal process
2. The interface of civil law and common law legal systems
3. Jurisdiction and admissibility
4. Initiation of investigations and selection of cases
5. Pre-Trial procedure
6. The trial
7. Appeals and review
8. Evidentiary rules
9. The defence
10. Assessing the role of victims in International Criminal Court proceedings
11. Assessing the practice of plea bargaining and trials in absentia
12. Consolidation and reform

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

• Describe and understand the key procedural stages of a case at the International Criminal Court
• Compare and contrast international criminal procedure across a range of international criminal tribunals
• Analyse controversial features of criminal procedure at the International Criminal Court
• Evaluate potential reforms and improvements that can be made to international criminal procedure

How will I learn on this module?

This module runs across twelve weeks. Each week, you will meet with your Module Tutor for a two-hour workshop. You will be expected to complete independent reading and research in preparation for the workshops. All relevant materials will be indicated on the eLearning portal. These workshops comprise a short lecture to introduce key principles and elucidate particular areas of difficulty or confusion. The workshops will also provide you the opportunity to discuss, debate, and explore the principles, themes, and issues in context with your fellow students and your Tutor.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The members of academic staff who teach on this module possess significant research and practical expertise in the field(s) of international criminal procedure. As such, they will provide you with appropriate academic support. However, the Module Tutor will also draw upon the professional network of the wider teaching team to invite practitioners from international(ised) criminal tribunals to provide workshops/talks on international criminal procedure. These include Prosecuting and defence counsel as well as former judges at international criminal tribunals.

The University is well-positioned to support you in your learning and research, with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to electronic legal databases and resources, including many international criminal law-related materials, and appropriate software. This module will be designed and managed by your Module Tutor, who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions will be available online through the module eLP site, maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues of current legal significance as appropriate. Academic support is also available through formative oral feedback and feedforward during timetabled sessions, on assignments, and through the module handbook, which details the delivery structure and University requirements. At programme level, you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide you with pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the module you should be able to:
• Understand and explain the key principles and stages of international criminal procedure.
• Contrast the differing types of international criminal procedure in operation at differing international criminal tribunals.
• Analyse and Evaluate the complexities and controversies of international criminal procedure.
• Consider possible reforms to international criminal procedure.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
By the end of the module you should be able to:
• present doctrinal and socio-legal arguments on international criminal procedure, both orally and in writing.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

By the end of the module you should have developed the ability to:

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
Students will be given opportunities to submit short opinions that will receive written and/or oral feedback as appropriate, which can be used, as part of their reflective development, to prepare for their summative assessment.

Summative assessment

Students will be assessed by way of written coursework (essay) of 3,000 words or less. Students will be given a choice of essay questions from which they will answer one.

Assessment Criteria and Grade-Related Criteria will be made available to you to support you in completing assessments. Grade-Related Descriptors are descriptions of the level of skills, knowledge and/or attributes that you need to demonstrate in order achieve a certain grade or mark in an assessment, providing a mechanism by which the quality of an assessment can be measured and placed within the overall set of marks.





Module abstract

This module provides you with a firm grasp of international criminal procedure, beginning with how a potential case is identified, to the investigation process and finally to judgment and possible appeals. Focusing on the permanent International Criminal Court, you will understand essential provisions of the Court’s founding treaty, The Rome Statute, and consider the latest case law on its interpretation. In doing so, you will gain a strong academic and practical understanding of how the Court operates, including its jurisdiction, how a trial is conducted (fairly) and the role of victims in the Court. In particular, you will learn and tackle some of the long-standing dilemma in international criminal justice, including the question of selectivity (who is selected to be prosecuted and who isn’t) and admissibility (when can the Court proceed with a case under the Rome Statute). The module will include guest talks and workshops from practitioners giving you unique practical insight into how international criminal procedure operates. This module is essential for those of you interested in a future career in international criminal law; particularly as legal counsel, but also as an activist and campaigner, researcher, policy-maker, adviser or indeed, any career in which a working knowledge of how international criminal responsibility is pursued is desirable.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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