LAW5404 - Genocide and international law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the basic legal and policy issues involved in the international criminalization of genocide. It will review the origins of the Genocide Convention, and discuss the evolving interpretation of the definition bearing in mind its relationship to the cognate concept of crimes against humanity. The use of the term genocide as a political rather than a legal characterization will be considered. By the end of the course, students should have a good general familiarity with the major legal texts concerning genocide and the relevant case law of international and national courts and tribunals. Specific issues to be considered will include the protected groups, the mental and physical elements, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and the phenomenon of genocide denial.


  1. To understand the legal norms concerning the prohibition, the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide.
  2. To consider the relationship between genocide and the cognate concept of crimes against humanity.
  3. To consider specific issues associated with the prevention and punishment of genocide, including the question of incitement to genocide and denial of genocide.
  4. To learn the basic features of the relevant case law concerning genocide, as developed by the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the ad hoc Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as that of leading national courts and tribunals.


Take-home exam (3,750 words): 50%

Research paper (3,750 words): 50%

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)

Chief examiner(s)