KRIM4956 – International Criminal Justice and Mass Violence

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Course content

COVID-19: Teaching and exams autumn semester 2020

The ongoing corona situation will affect teachings and exams also in the autumn semester 2020.

Read updated information regarding the autumn semester 2020.

The course will use the grading scale A-F.


This course addresses international calls to ‘do justice’ in the aftermath of mass violence and international crimes, and their manifestations in international criminal tribunals, courts and reconciliation processes. The course is based on discussions of course literature, different analytical perspectives and empirical case studies.

We address the rationales behind and outcomes of international criminalization processes and related re-presentations of victims and perpetrators of mass violence. While the course emphasizes the special contribution the criminological and socio-legal perspectives can give to the study of mass violence and international criminal justice., it alsocrosses disciplinary boundaries and emphasizes a variety of approaches to these issues.

With literature suggestions as a point of departure, each lecture will present and discuss the current status of research related to the given theme. Six themes form the primary content and focus of this course:

  1. A historical perspective on international criminal justice
  2. Contemporary politics and perspectives on international criminal justice
  3. Transitional justice approaches: amnesties, truth commissions, reparations
  4. Representations of perpetrators and international punishment
  5. Representations of victims and victims’ justice
  6. Representations of the ‘international community’

Learning outcome


At the end of the course, Master students are expected to:

  • have a thorough understanding of the central discussions and positions of how to deal with mass violence and international crimes
  • know how international criminal justice has developed
  • know and be able to discuss the contributions of different theoretical perspectives on justice in the aftermath of mass violence and international crimes
  • be able to weigh potential prospects and limitations of criminal justice responses to mass atrocities up against each other
  • know general trends in (re)presentations of victims and perpetrators and be able to reflect on potential consequences such understandings may have.



At the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • be able to apply central concepts, theories and empirical examples
  • be able to discuss and problematize central themes addressed through the course
  • be able to critically discuss how notions of law and politics  intersect and affect responses to mass violence and international crimes
  • be able to present and discuss historical trends and developments addressed in lectures and literature
  • be able to reflect on the relationship between theory and empirical data.



At the end of the course, students have

  • enhanced their respect and understanding for social scientific critical thinking and inquiry
  • learned what it entails to interpret, analyze and discuss scholarly texts
  • developed their capability to critically reflect on the meaning and intersection of law and politics at the international level in relation to  how mass violence and international crimes are addressed by the international community.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KRIM2956 – International Criminal Justice and Mass Violence


Lectures, but some student activity is included/expected.


Final home exam:Students are graded on the basis of a final 4-day take-home exam that you deliver electronically in Inspera.

Size: Maximum 3600 words (roughly 9 pages). Front page, contents page (optional) and bibliography are not included. If footnotes are used in the text (at the bottom of each page), they are included in the 3600 word limit. Papers that exceed the 3600 word limit will be disallowed.

Any exam at the University of Oslo is being checked for both correct word count and incidents of cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

This  guide is used by examiners for grading this course.

Explanations and appeals

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Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020

Spring 2019


Autumn 2020

Spring 2019

Teaching language