The International Criminal Court (ICC)

The roundtable on international criminal justice would be a great way to introduce students to issues facing the International Criminal Court (ICC).  The ICC is located in The Hague, Netherlands.  While most, if not all, of your students will likely never get to see the ICC live, the ICC has several tools available that will make teaching about it more concrete.

First, the ICC provides live streaming of the proceedings in its two courtrooms (with a half-hour delay) in both English and French.  The ICC also has a youtube channel, where many court proceedings are publically available.  If you assign the roundtable as homework, one supplemental assignment could involve asking students to either watch live streaming of a case (depending on the date and time of available trials) or view several minutes of a trial on youtube.  This will help students visualize what takes place at the ICC.

In class, students could get into groups and discuss what they saw on youtube or the live stream.  What trial did they watch, and who was the defendant?  What was he (or she) accused of?  Was the ICC what they expected?  Did anything surprise them about the proceedings?

An alternate activity could  include further discussion regarding the types of crimes that the ICC has jurisdiction over.  For example, before reading the roundtable, students could discuss what crimes they think should be considered crimes of international law.  Then, they could read the roundtable, as well as the part of the Rome Statute (the treaty that constituted the ICC) dealing with jurisdiction of the ICC, found here.  This could be followed by a discussion of the crimes that are included in its jurisdiction and what students think should have been included.  Were they surprised by the inclusion of certain types of crimes or the exclusion of others?  Why are these particular crimes considered international crimes?