LAWPUBL 434 : International Criminal Law


2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The evolution of international criminal law, from the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals to the International Criminal Court. Topics include: the nature and sources of international criminal law; jurisdiction; individual and collective responsibility; substantive crimes and defences; alternatives to criminal trials, such as truth commissions and amnesties.

Course Overview

Taught by Susan Lamb, formerly a Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize, and currently a member of Crown Law's criminal team in Wellington, students will be able to learn directly from an internationally-recognised criminal and humanitarian law expert. A Rhodes Scholar, Susan brings to this course her significant expertise in international criminal law, criminal justice, and the law of armed conflict.  You will consider the work of the various boards, units, tribunals, and justice systems which are established to try perpetrators of genocide and war crimes in fragile and conflict-affected states, including those tackling atrocity crimes in Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones. 

This course will develop students’ understanding of the contemporary international legal architecture for dealing with armed conflict and atrocity crimes. It will enhance their ability to exercise independent judgement and to understand how principles of extra-territorial and universal jurisdiction have evolved in response to atrocity crimes, as well as appreciating the large number of jurisdictional gaps that remain. 

The course will draw on several case-studies from the International Criminal Court, as well as other International Criminal Tribunals, including those for the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Cambodia. It will also make reference to a number of contemporary situations such as the conflict in Ukraine.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: LAW 201 Corequisite: LAW 435 or LAWPUBL 402 Restriction: LAW 489

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Laws

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify the sources of international criminal law (Capability 3.1)
  2. Consider and assess relevant factors and issues arising around jurisdiction (Capability 3.1, 3.2 and 4.1)
  3. Critically assess and discuss in an informed and respectful manner, alternatives to criminal trials for reconciliation in the aftermath of international crimes. (Capability 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 6.1)
  4. Analyse and discuss elements of substantive crime including possible defences and the significance of legal accountability for sustainable and harmonious futures. (Capability 2.1, 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2)
  5. Critically evaluate the law regulating international crime, armed conflict, and/0r humanitarian atrocities. (Capability 3.1, 3.2 and 4.1)
  6. Critically reflect on, New Zealand’s own unique history, and the role that honestly confronting historic injustice has to contribute to a peaceful and stable future. (Capability 1.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 70% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Final Exam

The course assessment provides significant autonomy for students to focus in on the areas of the course that are particularly interesting to each individual.

Workload Expectations

This is a standard 15-point Summer School course. There will be around 36 hours of lectures in this course. As a general guide, you should expect a workload of three hours outside of the classroom for each hour spent in class. The guideline for the total workload for this course is 150 hours.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at the lecture component of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings. However, learning will be enhanced by attendance. Moreover, lectures will include learning activities that may not be picked up on recordings.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student feedback has been acted upon. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course director, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a Student Academic and Support Adviser as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 27/10/2023 10:34 a.m.