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Human Rights and International Criminal Law: An Introduction

University of Padova via FutureLearn


Discover how human rights and criminal law connect or challenge each other

Are you a master’s student or a professional new to international law and relations? On this 4-week course, you will build your understanding of human rights law (HRL), international criminal law (ICL), and how the two concepts relate to each other.

Understand the history of human rights law and international criminal law

In week one, you’ll explore how international law instruments and institutions deal with human rights protection. You’ll also examine the history of the international criminal court (ICC) and how it was established to hold serious criminals responsible for their crimes.

Explore how ICL addresses sexual and gender violence

You’ll analyse the progress and challenges of ICL in addressing sexual and gender violence, focusing on the international legal framework for these sorts of crimes.

There is a very poor conviction rate for sexual assault and rape cases, so you’ll evaluate how the international community can ensure accountability for sexual crimes.

Analyse the interconnection between ICL and children’s rights

Next, you’ll analyse how ICL has made progress in reducing crimes against children. You’ll evaluate the way humanitarian law has developed to protect children involved in armed conflicts, such as child soldiers.

Discover the international human rights courts

In the final week, we’ll look at the international human rights courts and how they address international crime cases.

You’ll explore whether states should be held accountable for human rights violations, armed conflicts and organised violence committed internationally, and consider what human rights courts can do when faced with these threats.

This course is for master’s students in international law and international relations, professionals, human rights activists and NGO officers looking to explore this area of international law studies.


  • International Criminal Law and Human Rights Law
    • Getting Started
    • The Interconnection between International Criminal Law and Human Rights Law
    • The Establishment of the International Criminal Court
  • Gender, Justice and International Criminal Law
    • Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the ICL
    • The ICC Engagement with SGBV: A Fragmented Landscape
    • The Challenges to Effective Protection
  • Children, Justice and International Criminal Law
    • Protecting Children's Rights under IHL and ICL
    • The Role of the ICC in Protecting Children
    • Challenges to the Effective Protection of Children Involved in Situations of Organized Violence
  • International Crimes and the Jurisprudence of International Human Rights Courts
    • Human Rights Courts and International Crimes
    • Cross-fertilization betweeen HRL, IHL and ICL
    • Conclusion

Taught by

Paolo De Stefani



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4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 58 ratings

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