Chevron Left
Back to Introduction to International Criminal Law

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to International Criminal Law by Case Western Reserve University

3,133 ratings
803 reviews

About the Course

-- About the Course -- From the Nuremberg trial to the case against Saddam Hussein, from the prosecution of Al-Qaeda terrorists to the trial of Somali pirates – no area of law is as important to world peace and security as international criminal law. Taught by one of the world’s leading experts in the field, this course will educate students about the fundamentals of international criminal law and policy. We will explore the contours of international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, terrorism, and piracy. We will examine unique modes of international criminal liability and specialized defenses. And we will delve into the challenges of obtaining custody of the accused and maintaining control of the courtroom. -- Course Syllabus -- This course comprises eight units (or "modules"). Each will include an assigned reading, typically an article or book chapter, as well as a simulation designed to bring the readings to life. I will also offer video lectures on each of the topics, accompanied by slides. In addition, there will be online role-play exercises and debates, enabling the students to share their own insights. The order of class sessions will be: (1) History: From Nuremberg to The Hague (2) International Crimes Part 1: War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, and Torture (3) International Crimes Part 2: Terrorism and Piracy (4) Special modes of liability: command responsibility, co-perpetration, and incitement (5) Special defenses: insanity, obedience to orders, duress, and head of state immunity (6) Gaining custody of the accused: extradition, luring, abduction, and targeted killing (7) Pre-Trial Issues: plea bargaining, self-representation, and exclusion of torture evidence (8) Maintaining control of the courtroom -- Recommended Background -- You don’t have to be a lawyer and there are no prerequisites for this course. However, the course will be conducted at the level expected of advanced undergraduate students. Therefore, for all participants, reading and writing comfortably in English at the undergraduate college level is desirable. -- Suggested Readings -- Students should read the assigned online materials for each unit in advance of the class session. In addition, students are invited to subscribe to “War Crimes Prosecution Watch,” a free bi-weekly e-newsletter that summarizes the latest developments in the field of international criminal law. -- Course Format -- This course is made up of eight content units. Each unit is based on an online reading assignment, a video lecture of about one hour in length, and one or more role play exercises to stimulate on-line discussion. The course also offers in-video enrichment quizzes (ungraded) for each unit, a ten question multiple choice midterm diagnostics exam (ungraded), and a ten question True/False Final Exam. -- FAQ-- How will this course be graded? This course is graded on completion. In order to complete the course each student must: (1) finish each module (or “lesson”); (2) write at least one essay response of 200 words or more for at least one simulation throughout the course; and (3) get a score of 6 out of 10 or better on the Final Exam. What resources will I need for this course? For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, and the time to read and discuss the exciting materials available online. What is the coolest thing about this course? The topics we will be discussing are ripped from the headlines. The topics are often controversial and thought-provoking, and always exciting....

Top reviews

Oct 24, 2020

Extremely well-organized. Really glad to see how all previous examples and history records were referenced to every topic. Neatly explained topics. Every aspect was discussed and explained in detail.

Sep 21, 2020

learned so much from this course, absolutely loved it, and the way the professor taught the lessons showed his experience and his knowledge even for fist timers it would be a great course to opt for.

Filter by:

26 - 50 of 803 Reviews for Introduction to International Criminal Law


May 25, 2020

I really enjoyed this course. I am an Italian philosophy student so I had no previous knowledge of law or the court system. Nonetheless, this course gave me a fantastic overview of International Law, human rights, and moral issues. Each lesson was interesting and engaging thanks to professor Scharf. Also, the material was plentiful and accurate. I definitely recommend it!

By Laiba S

Oct 25, 2020

Extremely well-organized. Really glad to see how all previous examples and history records were referenced to every topic. Neatly explained topics. Every aspect was discussed and explained in detail.

By Athina A

Dec 15, 2020

Great course, resourceful with many examples from international criminal tribunals that helps students to get a better understanding of how international law is implemented across different case!

By Mikelle C

Dec 20, 2016

The professor, Michael Scharf, seems to have a heavy bias to "justice" (as in punishment) and that leaves me with a poor taste as I listen to his content. I found an error in content that bothered me but did not interfere with the main points of the course. Overall I'm happy with the understanding of International Criminal Law that I have gained, though I am displeased with the biases I found in the professor.

By Ann M

Nov 18, 2018

Too much focus on the US and implications for the US. Paternalistic viewpoint and very biased. Not up to Courseras usual standard. Very disappointed

By Nikhil J J

Jul 25, 2019

I come from a non-law background but have participated in Model United Nations forums and other debates, so I've always held interest in this field. Dr. Scharf does an excellent job in covering the key points in an interesting manner, introducing plenty of case studies for reference. I did a fair amount of Googling to understand some of the Latin terms better and uncover more details about a particular case that piqued my interest. Having said that, I'd like to sincerely thank Dr. Scharf and his team for giving me a taste of what international criminal law really entails.

By Nataliia K

Jan 31, 2021

A very good course that provides a thorough knowledge of International Criminal Law, the activities of the International Criminal Court and tribunals. Step by step tells about the history of occurrence, reasons that give a general understanding of the main purpose of such formations. In addition, the main crimes are dealt with which are considered in such courts and tribunals. The procedure itself for considering the case and the obstacles that may arise, as well as ways of solving them, are described in great detail.

I liked the course very much, I recommend it!

By Steven T M H

Aug 19, 2021

This course is well-designed. However, as International Criminal Law includes, for example, genocide, war crime, crimes against humanity etc. and all of which have different criteria to determine the crime, I hope Prof. Michael Scharf can consider preparing a table, tabulating essential criteria for each crime to help students to refer to it. Well, the chart on the last page of Module 2 is helpful but can be expanded a little more to incorporate the criteria.

Prof. Michael Scharf, thank you for conducting this course. I learnt a lot from this course.

By Admir M

Jan 30, 2021

I have only the words of praise for this course. The syllabus was brought up very well, roughly covering the most important and contemporary challenging topics of international criminal law. I haw privileged to follow the video lectures of one of the leading experts on international criminal law world-wide, prof. Michael Scharf. Passionately advocating for justice, peace and security of all humankind, I do hope that by further development of international criminal law the world will get closer to the aforementioned ideals.

By Issa H

Mar 30, 2020

As a lawyer myself, I think this course finds a good balance of information for both non-lawyers and lawyers; there are more technical aspects that I found really useful, such as constant references to ICTY, ICC and other Tribunals' cases. Sometimes I felt the course focused too much on US perspective, but still it was quite interesting. Definitely, Professor Scharf is extremely knowledgable and had lots of experience and stories to share, which I found as one of the most pleasant parts of the class. Thank you!!

By Sagi Z

Sep 11, 2015

The course was fantastic, the lectures were clear and interesting.

The lecturer explained each concept while providing real examples which added to the value of this course.

Overall i had a great time and learned a lot. Coming from Israel this course is actually relevant for me to understand the ICC and its procedures as well as basic terms and definitions.

Thank you very much Prof. Sharf, I'm looking forward to more courses from you.

-Sagi Z.

By Monika M

Jul 4, 2020

Saying that this course is interesting could be unfair. This course is EXTREMELY interesting! I'm not fluent in English but I understand almost everything. The classes are well prepared and professor Sharf looks like a really nice person. It's so developing to listen to a person who is such an expert in this area! I truly recommend this course to all lawyers, law students, and anyone who's interesting in this topic!

By Ricardo J C B

Sep 17, 2020

Un curso bastante ameno, el docente maneja de forma magistral el tema y se imparten las clases con base en casos reales y con simulaciones de situaciones verídicas, desafortunadamente el derecho penal internacional ha surgido con base en lo peor del ser humano, pero es bueno saber que se cuentan con mecanismos eficaces para impartir justicia contra los respondables de crímenes contra la humanidad. excelente curso!

By Guillermo E P

Oct 28, 2017

This program/course was excellent and inspiring. It gave me the background and knowledge structure to pursue further studies and read Professor Sharf books. Beyond my expectations! I have no words to express my gratitude to him and all the people and organizations to provide the world community with this unique opportunity to become more educated. Thank you, thank you.

Dr. Guillermo Pimentel

By Victoria S

May 29, 2020

This is a complete course with everything you need to know about introduction to international criminal law. The teaches is the best teacher!!! Great classes and super interesting, he manages to gives the whole class in a way where you just want to keep taking the class and don't get bored at any time. The best course, I definitely recommend it, you'll learn a lot. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

By Jeanette G

Sep 24, 2020

This course was a real eye opener as it meticulously fleshes out arguments and trains participating students to take up defenses and analyze international criminal law blunders through its simulations and materials. The professor is undoubtedly well versed on the topic and makes sure to keep discussions interesting! Hoping to find other value-adding courses like these in the future

By Савчукова А Е

Jan 11, 2018

I`m absolutely in love with this course. It helped me to understand the main aspects of International Criminal Law which will surely be helpful in my future career as a lawyer. I suppose I found that brunch of law i`m interested in the most. The lector is very good and the whole system with video and reading materials accompanied by online-simulations and discussions is very helpful.

By Hafiz M A

Jun 6, 2018

It was a wonderful experience learning ICL in which I was very much interested. I have gained much of the useful knowledge based on some assignments and quiz related experiences. I am very grateful to the Instructer, Case Western Reserve Unviersity and Coursera organizing this marvelous event and I am looking froward for some more fruitful courses in the coming days. Thanks all

By Mudit S

Oct 4, 2020

Mr. Michael P. Scharf is the best professor ever. The way he taught us everything regarding international criminal law stays in the memory of a learner or a student forever. This was just the perfect course to learn about the international judiciary because it makes the most complex procedure so easy to learn.

I'll miss Michael Sir's lecture so much, now the course has ended.

By Mr. S H

Jul 26, 2020

Professor Michael Scharf is a fascinating and wise teacher who really knows about how to make the lecture interesting for students. The course is well-designed and thoroughly innovative. The questionnaires are based on historic events and hypothetical circumstances that really prepares students for encountering future crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. Thanks

By Dr. N F (

Jan 31, 2018

Maybe the best course I had ever. Not only because to its material/topic, but mostly because of the way Professor Michael Scharf communicated with me as a student.

I feel very lucky to get this course and definitely I recommend it to all. Especially to lawyers, judges and D.A.'s around the world.

Thank you CWRU for this course.

Thank you Professor Scharf.

Until the next course..

By Foysal S R

Aug 6, 2020

Michael Scharf's teaching style is impeccable, as a Law student, I got to learn really a lot about international criminal law, which was previously a very confusing subject for me. I really think that after completing this course, it'll take a long way in my future career. This course is a must-do for Law students who are interested in criminology and international crimes.


Jul 12, 2020

This course is absolutely amazing. It helped me a lot in enhancing knowledge on Prespective Of International Criminal Law also provided a lot to understand the Scope of criminal at Different level as currently I m doing my masters in comparative And critical criminal law subjects.It helped immensely throughout the course study

Thank you Michael Scharf.! and coursera.🙏


Aug 19, 2020

I liked this course very much, especially after the completion of third week videos , every element and and every video feels like and movie sequence and I enjoyed a lot....Thank you for providing such a great online course........I recommend every one who is reading the review to enroll the course without any doubt........THANK YOU, ONCE AGAIN.........................

By Vidya S

Sep 24, 2020

This courses provided a wide perspective towards international crimes and the way international crimes are prosecuted. There's so many cases and topics that help you understand the history of issues normally invisible to the public. Perhaps visible but people maybe blinded. I learned a lot from this course. It felt like I was doing a degree course. Felt myself mature.