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

3,537 ratings

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.

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26 - 50 of 910 Reviews for Introduction to International Criminal Law

By Vartika B

Nov 22, 2020

This course helped me to learn various aspects of International law from practical and real-life cases. Prof. Michael Scharf was an amazing mentor throughout the course his teaching style, content, experiences, notes helped me to have a more than better understanding. Thank you for giving us this course as a golden opportunity to learn from Prof. Michael Scharf and learn about International Criminal Law. this Course will teach about the origin of international law, cases, trails, how to prepare your defences, maintenance of courtroom decorum as a judge, foreign policies, how countries deal with different treaties. overall this was an amazing journey participate in online simulations have the notes provided and you will be clear about all aspects. GO FOR IT!

By Orit Y

Oct 4, 2015

The lectures and readings dovetail perfectly and take you through a very organized introduction to international criminal law. Even someone without a law background but a strong interest in international matters can understand and learn mountains from this course! Only half way through the course, and I already understand things I hear on the news about international matters, the UN, terrorism, etc. with new eyes and ears. I recommend this very high-quality course wholeheartedly.

By Marina O R

Aug 3, 2020




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 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!


Nov 30, 2021

Excelente curso!!

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 Carlos

Dec 17, 2021

It is not very nice to give such vague facts as 'the Turks killed millions of Armenians' or 'Saddam Hussein killed millions of Kurds'. It is necessary to give exact or at least approximate numbers. The data they give in this course is random and not very well sourced. After the first video I dropped out of the course.

By Aakif T

Sep 11, 2021

The teacher in this course is not objective at all. Certain judgements are made in this course about things that are not clearly known. This platform was not based to do politics

By Ingrid L P L

Aug 27, 2015

Ofrecen el curso para hispanohablantes sin embargo las lecturas solo están disponibles en ingles. Si ofrecen algo cumplanlo en su totalidad NO a medias.

By Animikha G

Jul 27, 2020

can you please help me to unenroll?

By Nneoma A

Oct 19, 2020

the lectures were too long

By Shubham p

Dec 28, 2017

Perfect course.


Jan 20, 2022


By Rahul p

Sep 28, 2020



Oct 16, 2022

against them because under international law they have to have the ability to conduct Foreign relations, to travel freely around the world. And if they're worried that they'll be apprehended by various countries that have arrest warrants out for them, they won't be able to do their job. So the International Court of Justice says, even if you are accused of the worst crimes imaginable, crimes against humanity, you get head of state immunity in a domestic proceding. But the court in dicta, which means that wasn't part of their holding but it was something they said as well, when on to say that after Nuremberg, anybody who's being prosecuted by an international tribunal like the Yugoslavia tribunal, and the 

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 João P C C

Dec 2, 2021

An excellent course. It covers pretty much all basic aspects of International Criminal Law. At first I thought that 8 lessons wouldn't be enough, but then it happened that there was more content than I could ever imagine. The course makes a fine balance between substantial and procedural ICL and certainly is a solid start point for any student/professional interested on lerning more about the subject.