International Justice For Human Rights Violations (LAW-725R-001)

In-person (WCL)

10:30 - 12:20 pm

*For students enrolled in the LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, this course corresponds to 2 academic credits.

Back to all Courses


  • David CraneFounding Chief Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone & Former Under Secretary General, United Nations
  • Helen DuffyFounder, Human Rights in Practice, The Hague, The Netherlands, and Professor of human rights and humanitarian law, Leiden University

Course Description:

One of the major advances of the human rights movement in recent decades has been the development of individual criminal accountability for mass atrocities. Fifty years after the establishment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and its partner in the Far East, the international community in 1998 created an International Criminal Court on the heels of ad-hoc war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The same year, 1998, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, was arrested in England under the principle of “universal jurisdiction.” Since then, post-conflict tribunals have been created in Cambodia, Kosovo, East Timor, and Sierra Leone among others, while universal jurisdiction prosecutions have multiplied. This course will examine that historical evolution, and the tensions between the pursuit of justice and realpolitik in the achievement of political settlements. The class will begin with an overview of the key substantive elements of international criminal law, followed by a survey of the institutional architecture employed to achieve accountability in different contexts, and the particular evidentiary and procedural challenges posed by such cases.