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International Criminal Law: Start Here

A guide to online and print resources, including substantive and procedural law, secondary sources, journals and news.


This research guide includes the sources of substantive and procedural law of the ICC and other criminal tribunals and aids those researching international criminal law by organizing the print, electronic, and online resources.

Before You Start

International Criminal Law is challenging to research. Take these steps first:

  • Identify jurisdiction (ICC, ICTY, ICTR, etc.)
  • Identify area of law (substantive, procedural, or both)
  • Identify the authoritativeness of individual sources (binding or persuasive in my jurisdiction) 
  • Identify which resources are available to you at your library
  • Consult the basic sources of international criminal law

Pace Law Library Catalog

Discovery Service

Discovery service searches the Library catalog and a wide variety of interdisciplinary databases, including HeinOnline.

Basic Sources of International Criminal Law

Statute of the Court includes the Rome Statute of the ICC, individual statutes of other criminal tribunals, Elements of Crime or Charters where applicable, and/or GA Resolution adopted by the courts. N.B. The Rome Statute is a form of a multilateral treaty requiring signature and deposit of ratification before states become bound by the Statute subjecting them to the jurisdiction of the ICC. 

Procedural Rules of the Court including the rules of procedure and evidence, detention rules, or rules of the court. 

Travaux Préparatoires is the "legislative history" of international criminal law instruments providing an insight into the drafters' intent and purpose. 

United Nations Documents, particularly international legal materials by the General Assembly Sixth Committee, including texts, resolutions, decisions, instruments, reports, working papers, speeches or summary records, as well as Security Council resolutions including those adopted under Chapter VII powers. 

Scholarly Writings include law reviews that regularly publish scholarly articles on international criminal law, and commentaries, introductions, treatises, handbooks, and monographs.

Case Law includes judicial decisions by the pre-trial, trial, and appellate chambers of the ICC and other criminal tribunals, as well as judicial decisions of the ICJ, ECHR, IACHR, or decisions of foreign courts where applicable. 

Newspapers, particularly legal press covering stories relating to international criminal law.

Online or website sources include organizations, associations, portals, information hubs, commercial sites, or blogs dedicated to international criminal law.


Jus Cogens (= peremptory norms) 
International Conventions (general or particular) establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states
International Custom, as evidence of general practice accepted as law (determined by majority of affected states)
General Principles of Law recognized by civilized nations

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