International Criminal Law
Although we can trace the roots of international criminal law to the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes trials held after World War II, the field has experienced remarkable growth in the past 15 years. The international community has created a range of new international criminal tribunals to investigate and prosecute international crimes, and national courts now also exercise criminal jurisdiction over international or transnational crimes that have occurred in countries thousands of miles away. The substantive criminal law has expanded, and notions of individual responsibility for international crimes have also evolved, extending the reach of international criminal law. At the same time, new debates have emerged about the suitability of using criminal justice mechanisms to respond to mass atrocity situations, and some increasingly question the legitimacy of vesting the international community, rather than the affected states, with responsibility for addressing such offenses. This course will explore legal and institutional responses to transnational and international crime. It will consider traditional forms of international cooperation to address "transnational" crimes and the concept of universal jurisdiction that provides a basis for treating certain crimes as "international." It will study the range of institutions created to punish international criminals, including the Nuremburg and Tokyo tribunals, ad hoc tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, "mixed" international/domestic tribunals such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Cambodia war crimes tribunal, and the recently-created permanent International Criminal Court. In doing so, it will examine both institutional and substantive law developments. It will also look at alternative institutional arrangements and options for responding to international crimes, such as truth commissions and amnesties. It will also consider enforcement of international criminal law through trials by national courts of countries with no or limited connection to the underlying offenses, such as the Pinochet case. Themes running throughout the course include: (1) the moral and political goals that do and should motivate responses to international crimes; (2) the role of international politics and foreign policy considerations in shaping responses to international crimes; and, (3) the suitability of different institutional models for addressing international crimes.