3 ECTS credits
90 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6002086FNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
International and European Law
Educational team
Paul DE HERT (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
26 contact hours Lecture
Course Content

International and European Criminal law are two relatively young fields, which are nonetheless, progressively acquiring more and more importance in the present context. As a matter of fact, if globalization has had a revolutionary and positive impact, in almost all fields of man activities, such an evolution has also had important consequences in a specific area which has historically been locally rooted: crime. States have thus started to develop different forms of judicial cooperation in criminal matters to counteract this phenomenon both at a global and at a regional level.  

The seminar aims at providing students with an overview of the sources and the developments of this new branch of law, of the obstacles overcome, and the challenges it will face in the future. In particular the subjects covered will include:


  • the development of international criminal law (international conventional or customary law regulating the criminal conduct of the individual);
  • the content of general principles of international criminal law (individual criminal responsibility, principle of legality, ne bis in idem, etc.)
  • the definition and problems associated with description of international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, terrorism, etc.);
  • the study of the institutional techniques designed to administer these rules (international criminal tribunals, the international criminal court, , etc.).
  • the growing trend towards European criminal law (Schengen, Europol, etc.)
  • techniques used by states to combat criminality such as assistance in the administration of criminal justice (extraterritorial competence of criminal courts, extradition, execution of foreign judgments, transmission of prosecutors, minor international legal assistance); 
Course material
Handbook (Required) : A Treatise on International Criminal Law, Bassiouni and Nanda, Ch. Thomas, 1973
Additional info

Every course lesson can be followed on a “handout” distributed to students, which states the purpose of the course, its structure and gives a short summary of the topics touched upon in class. It also indicates the reading materials, it proposes some questions to the course and the materials, and it ends with a short list of optional reading materials (These are ‘optional’ and do not have to be studied). Students are expected to take notes during the course, as the course handouts are not sufficient. Moreover, they are requested to study also directly relying on legal materials such as the Treaties, Court’s judgments and legal instruments.

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

After the course, students should have thorough knowledge of the most important features of international and European criminal law (objectives, principles, institutional frameworks and decision-making mechanisms, with particular focus on the important innovations brought by the Treaty of Lisbon, and most pertinent challenges) and should be familiar with core substantive areas of international and European criminal law (extradition and mutual recognition, judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters, development of substantive European and International Criminal law, both on areas of crimes and on procedural matters, and the problems related to harmonized European criminal law, and universal criminal law) and eventually also with the functioning of bodies and mechanism entrusted with task of ensuring the enforcement of European and International criminal law.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Oral Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Oral Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Examen Mondeling with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

    Note: Oral exam.

    Examples of questions:

    1. What do we need to check when receiving an extradition request?
    2. Is there sufficient penal law to back-up the former Youguslavia tribunal?
    3. What is the base structure for a penal law treaty?

Additional info regarding evaluation

The students will be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. They will be asked questions (3 to 5) about the course notes taken in class and the reading materials. The reading materials have to be understood, even when not touched upon wholly in class. Questions could be asked about the vision of author, the main message, and the arguments used in the article, while not going into details as far as the specific content of each article is concerned. A minimal requirement is that students recognize the name of the author.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Laws: Law in an International Context (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws in International and European Law: Standaard traject