International Criminal Justice

A multidisciplinary approach to doing justice
War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide harm people, disrupt societies and endanger global peace and security. In recent decades the international community has expressed its clear desire to end such atrocities and to prosecute those responsible. But designing effective “real-world” response strategies and understanding the underlying human behaviour remain extremely challenging. Only a multidisciplinary approach has any hope of success.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor
Block 1
8 to 22 July 2017
Recommended course combinationBlock 2: Crime in Numbers: From Correlation to Causation, Discover (the) Dutch: Language and Culture
Block 3: Crime and Location: Spatial Analysis and Mapping, Governing Climate Change: Theory and Practice, The Gentle Art of Helping
Co-ordinating lecturersDr Joris van Wijk, Maarten Bolhuis, Msc.
Other lecturersProf. Elies van Sliedregt, Prof. Catrien Bijleveld, Dr Barbora Hola, guest lecturers
Form(s) of tuitionInteractive seminars and field trips
Form(s) of assessmentPresentation and short paper
ECTS    3 credits
Contact hours54
Tuition fee€1150
Students of Law, Criminology, Criminal Justice, Sociology, History, Journalism, Anthropology, Political Science and Psychology. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
This course is the first of its kind to take up that gauntlet. It introduces you to the basics of international criminal law, critically assesses modes of investigation, reflects on why perpetrators commit atrocities and discusses the value of alternative responses like truth commissions and amnesties. Together with a group of expert lawyers and criminologists, you explore what “doing justice” means in practice and identify and discuss the most pressing challenges. Naturally, in so doing you make the most of our location just 30 minutes away from the legal capital of the world, The Hague. The course includes advocacy training by international legal counsel and a guest lecture by Judge Howard Morrison of the International Criminal Court.

As host of the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ), VU University Amsterdam is a leading player in research on international criminal law and the criminology of international crimes. The CICJ is an independent institute dedicated to interdisciplinary academic research and education, policy analysis and debate on international crimes and international and transitional justice, as well as conceptual and institutional responses to mass atrocities. Its staff specialize in a broad spectrum of relevant fields, including international law, criminal law, criminology, social psychology and methods of social sciences research, and it has an extensive network of associated practitioners at the institutions in The Hague.

  • You can analyse and critically assess the nature and origins of international criminal justice.
  • You understand and can distinguish between the most important legal concepts.
  • You recognize and comprehend the most relevant criminological theories to explain the occurrence of mass atrocities.
  • You are able to compare the advantages and drawbacks of the various modes of transitional justice.
- Visits to the International Criminal Court, the Peace Palace, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague.

Course reader. An advance reading list will also be provided.
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