LAW 7067 - International Criminal Law (PG)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course examines the general principles of international criminal law as well as the fundamentals of international criminal procedure, providing a practical and theoretical framework for the rules, concepts and legal constructs key to the subject.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7067
    Course International Criminal Law (PG)
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Course Description This course examines the general principles of international criminal law as well as the fundamentals of international criminal procedure, providing a practical and theoretical framework for the rules, concepts and legal constructs key to the subject.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Cassandra Steer

    For enrolment enquiries please email

    Associate Professor Dale Stephens CSM (Course Coordinator)

    Room 2.17, Ligertwood Building
    Phone: 08 8313 5937

    Dr Cassandra Steer (Course lecturer)

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    International Criminal Law deals with individual criminal liability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or aggression.  It also deals with jurisdictional issues of prosecuting these crimes in international tribunals, procedural rights of the accused, and sometimes rights of victims.

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1.  critique domestic and international responses to mass atrocity crimes throughout history;

    2. explain the differences between elements of the common law traditions and elements of the civil law tradition in the substantive and procedural aspects of International Criminal Law;   

    3.  identify and then apply to fact patterns the elements of the core crimes recognised under International Criminal Law, with particular reference to War Crimes;

    4.  solve the question of liability for different fact patterns by applying the main modes of liability for collective crimes; 

    5.  critically analyse the tension between the rights of victims, the rights of defendants and the multiple aspirations of the international criminal justice system;

    6. develop and apply effective skills, both orally and in writing, in the construction of legal argument and analysis on various issues of International Criminal Law.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No required textbook. Students should consult with MyUni to access relevant materials that will be placed there, in particular the headnote and extracts of the Lubanga case which will be used throughout the course.

    Recommended Resources
    Robert Cryer at. al. (ed.s) “An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure” 3rd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Classes in this course will be held on Monday - Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm each day. There will be an hour’s break for lunch, and a shorter break each morning and afternoon


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Attending all seminars (unless otherwise excused), having read mandatory readings before class, and being prepared to contribute to class discussion.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Day 1: Welcome and Introduction; Contextualising ICL; Creating institutions and history of ICL; jurisdiction and immunities;
    Competing paradigms (human rights, criminal law, transitional justice)

    Day 2: The core crimes - genocide; war crimes; crimes against humanity; aggression

    Day 3: The accused - modes of liability; defences; evidence and fact-finding.

    Day 4: The process - adversarial versus inquisitorial approaches; victim participation; gender crimes; critiques of ICL.

    Day 5: Debate; terrorism and transnational crimes; ICL as sui generis; final reflections

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Task Type (Group or Individual)
    Due Weighting Length Redeemable Course Learning Outcome
    Class participation Individual

    Throughout the course

    5% N/A N/A 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Group debate Group Last day of course (May 10) 5% 1 hour 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Presentation Individual One session during the course 10% 10 minutes 6
    Short paper Individual Last day of course (May 10) 20% or 30% (students can choose) 2000 words 6 and a choice of 2, 3, 4 or 5
    Long paper Individual TBC 50% or 60% (students can choose) 3,500 words 6 and a choice of 2, 3, 4 or 5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Written assignments must be typed on double-spaced A4 paper with a 10 or 12 point font such as Arial or Times New Roman. The quality of English expression is considered to be integral part of the assessment process. Marks may be deducted because of poor spelling, grammar and presentation.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with The Australian Guide to Legal Citation available at

    The class comprises law and non-law graduates. Although the assessment tasks are the same for all students in the course, students will be assessed according to whether they are law or non-law graduates respectively. This will be done by taking into account the extent to which some aspects of the task involve the exercise of skills that law graduates can be expected to have practiced or refined over a longer period or to a greater degree than their non-law counterparts, and therefore a higher standard of performance may legitimately be expected from the law graduates in the course.

    Assessment Detail
    The assessment is designed to facilitate open and frank exchange of views and to motivate students to adopt and defend considered positions.

    Class participation accounts for 10% of the overall grade, with an individual grade worth 5% and a group grade worth 5%. The course will spend considerable time addressing technical legal issues of international criminal law, but will also promote critical thinking regarding the ways in which this field of law develops and the actors involved. Students will be encouraged to compare what they know from domestic criminal law institutions and notions, and to critically discuss the different approaches evident in the international criminal justice system. They will also be encouraged to consider broader social, ethical, political and moral issues attached to the international criminal justice project as a whole. The group component consists of an oral exercise on the final day, for which the class will be split into two groups to debate a topic which incorporates many issues covered in the course.

    Each student will be asked to give a short presentation for one of the sessions, providing comments on the Lubanga case where relevant, or on one of the readings. The prepared presentation must be at least 5 minutes long and the student must be prepared to asnwer questions and/or lead some of the discussion throughout that session based on their preparation. This is worth 10% of the final grade.

    Students will also be asked to write a short paper of 2000 words on the same topic as their presentation, drawing from more of the readings. The short paper is worth either 20% or 30%. Students will have the choice between giving the short paper or the final paper 10% more weight.

    The majority of the course grade will come from a 3500 word essay (long paper), worth either 50% or 60%, depending on the choise each student makes with respect to the weighting of the short paper. While students will be free to design any relevant (and approved) topic they would like, selected possible topics will be presented cumulatively through the course for consideration and must be finalised by the last day of the course. Such developed topics/questions will follow the threads of discussion that have been led during the course.

    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted electronically through Turnitin. By submitting your assignment electronically you are agreeing to the following:

    I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others. I have read the Policy on Cheating in Examinations and Related Forms of Assessment. I have also read the University's Plagiarism Policy.

    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made via email to the course coordinator.

    Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part  thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is one hour late, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 25 hours late, etc.

    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time: The interim assignment for this course will be returned to students within 3 weeks of the submission date. Group feedback, together with written, individual feedback will be provided, from which students can learn from in the final assignment. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback. Students will be notified by email when assignments are ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible  moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment  results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is  required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework
    Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the  appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).


    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:

    *assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    *detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    *sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    *reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    *comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    *automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    *the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    Practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at  

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.