The reemergence of international criminal courts in the last sixteen years has attracted considerable scholarly attention. Indeed, international criminal courts are unique legal institutions: although international in their character, they share many features with national courts. In fact, international criminal law represents an area of legal activity where international law approximates national law, and interacts with it closely. Moreover, international criminal courts arguably serve as the lynchpin of the Post-Cold War international legal system, and their success or failure can be viewed as a litmus test for the actual ability of the international community to achieve important policy goals through "rule of law" institutions.
This seminar explores the creation, function, and operation of international criminal courts, from the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg to the International Criminal Court. It also covers hybrid courts and national courts exercising universal jurisdiction, focusing in particular on systematic problems and theoretical issues related to the work of international criminal courts. The seminar traces the development of criminal law as a method for enforcing international law, and the move away from the national to the international (and the hybrid). It explores questions of judicial structure, examining the makeup of international criminal courts, their jurisdiction, applicable law, and procedure. A major portion of the seminar addresses the actual performance of international criminal courts, using organizing themes such as judicial independence, normative development, and interplay with national courts.