International criminal law (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Lorenzo Picotti, Ivan Salvadori
Lorenzo Picotti
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° periodo di lezioni dal Sep 28, 2020 al Dec 14, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Students should have previous knowledge of criminal law. Therefore, they may attend this course if they have already passed the Criminal Law exam.


This course enables students to acquire comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary to understand and analyze the general principles of the European and International Criminal Law, the International case-law and their influence on the National criminal justice system. Furthermore, it enables students to solve law case studies on the basis of a legal methodology and acquire .
On completion of this course, the students will be able to:
- have a basic knowledge of the general principles of European and International Criminal Law
- identify and critically evaluate the role played by international criminal courts and tribunals
- assess and critically comment upon the concepts and main elements of international crimes,
- demonstrate an appropriate level of research skills in locating, evaluating and interpreting academic opinions and sources of International and European Criminal law, but also the case-law.
- solve problems and individual cases using the knowledge gained from the course
- acquire the skills to use library, legal databases and online resources independently


The course is divided in four parts:
1st Part: International Criminal Courts and Tribunals
• Historical evolution, jurisdiction and structure of international criminal courts and tribunals
• The Nuremberg and Tokyo International Military Tribunals
• The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
• The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)
• The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
• International Criminal Court (ICC)

2nd Part: The international crimes (core-crimes)
• The objective and subjective Elements of International Crimes
• War Crimes
• Crimes Against Humanity
• Genocide
• Crime of Aggression

3rd Part: General principles of International Criminal Law
• Individual Criminal Responsibility
• Direct and Indirect Responsibility
• Command/Superior Responsibility
• Participation/Complicity
• Grounds excluding Criminal Responsibility

4th Part: European Criminal Law
• Basic Principles of European Criminal Law
• The Influence of European Criminal Law on domestic substantive Criminal Law
• Art 83 TFEU and European Directives
• EU Legal Instruments for Police and Judicial Cooperation
• European Convention on Human Rights
Language of teaching for this course is English. All literature and auxiliary material are also in English.
For students attending classes, the course will be mainly based on lectures. Workshops, seminars about specific topics or case studies could be organized during the course. Some lectures or seminars could be also delivered by distinguished Visiting Professors. The online registration to the University e-learning platform will provide students with a source of reference, bibliography, scientific papers and selected case-law.

The professors will provide support to students non-attending classes during the office hours (see the Law Department webpage). Students non-attending classes may also register to the University e-learning platform and have access to a source of reference, bibliography, scientific papers and selected case-law.

For students attending classes, the reference book, available also in the Law Library, is:
- SATZGER H., International and European Criminal Law, C. H. Beck, München, second edition, 2018 (part “A”, “C” and “D”)
For students non-attending classes, the reference books, available also in the Law Library, are:
With regard to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Part of the program:
- WERLE G., JESSBERGER F., Principles of International Criminal Law, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014 (from part I to part VI)
With regard to the 4th part of the program:
- SATZGER H., International and European Criminal Law, 2nd ed., C. H. Beck, München, 2018 (part “A” and “C”)
In addition to the reference books, students may use the following essential bibliographical references to deepen specific topics covered by the course:
- GERHARDS J.H. (ed.), General Principles of the European Convention on Human Rights, Cambridge University Press, 2019
- AMBOS K., European Criminal Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018
- AMBOS K., Treaties on International Criminal Law, The Crimes and Sentencing, vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014
- AMBOS K., Treaties on International Criminal Law, Foundations and General Part, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013

Students not-attending classes and ERASMUS students are kindly requested to contact the Professors at the beginning of the course, in order to agree on the exam’s program and the books and material to study.

The material provided by the professors throughout the entire course and available on the University e-learning platform represent the primary studying resource for students attending classes.
The regular consultation of the sources and case-law is warmly recommended. Therefore, students are invited to consult the following websites:
- International Criminal Court:
- Rome Statute of International Criminal Court:
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:
- Special Court for Sierra Leone:
- Oxford Reports on International Criminal Law:
- Commentary on the Law of the International Criminal Law:

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
SATZGER Helmut International and European Criminal Law (Edizione 2) C. H. Beck, München 2018 limited to part “A”, “C” and “D”
G. WERLE, F. JESSBERGER Principles of International Criminal Law (Edizione 3) Oxford University Press 2014 from part I to part VI

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam consists of a written text with open questions (60% of the final note), followed by an oral exam (40% of the final note). The admission to the oral part of exam will be subjected to a pass grade result from the written text. Both parts will be held in English.

The are no mid-term exams.

The final exam aims at verifying:
• The level of achievement of the learning outcomes previously identifies
• The linguistic accuracy
• The argumentative, reasoning and problem-solving skills
• The ability to connect systematically the knowledge achieved

Students attending classes have the possibility to write a short paper on specific topics, upon agreement with the professors. The paper will be discussed during the oral examination and will be part of the final exam.

Grades are awarded on a scale from 18 to 30, where 30 is the highest grade and 18 is the lowest grade to pass the exam. In case of an excellent knowledge, a high level of linguistic accuracy and an argumentative, reasoning and problem-solving capacity the candidate may earn the highest grade with “cum laude” honor.