Seminar on International Courts
LAW 738 -- Fall 2006
John Heywood and Chris Brantley

Course Syllabus


I. Course Description

Introduction to the practice of international courts and arbitral tribunals and their role in the development of international law. Offered in a seminar format using lectures, case-studies, and class exercises as teaching methods, the course will outline the evolution and structure of international tribunals, examine the development of international legal principles by international tribunals with reference to "sources" methodology, and discuss issues concerning the effectiveness and future role of international courts in the development of international law.

II. Course Goals

  1. Introduce students to the historical evolution, structure, and function of international tribunals within the international legal system.

  2. Reinforce students' conceptual understanding of the sources of international law and their inter-relationships.

  3. Examine selected international legal issues and modes of legal argumentation using class exercises simulating international judicial dispute resolution.

  4. Outline issues concerning the effectiveness of international tribunals as dispute resolution mechanisms and their future.

III. Office Hours, Telephone Numbers, E-Mail, Textbooks, and the Ubiquitous Website

John's office is in Room 115 (inside the Law Library). His office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. John will also be available for a short time after class, and by special appointment. John's office telephone is 202-274-4329, and his home telephone is 301-445-7488. He has small children who go to bed early, so please be considerate. His email address is:

Chris works downtown for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202). He will be available after class, and you can telephone to make arrangements to meet with him in his office. Chris's office telephone is 202-785-0017, and his home telephone is 301-439-7729. His email address is:

Like everything these days, we have a website:

Because of a glitch, the abovue url does not work as of the first day of class. We have been told that our problem will be solved shortly, and will update this page when that happens. Until then, the following url will work:

We have adopted three textbooks for the Seminar. The required reading for this class will come from these three books and also from materials on our website. In addition, we will post additional materials, reference sources, and other useful items of interest to the class.

The three textbooks are:

These books are available in the campus bookstore or the web. Remember, the web can often get you better prices than the bookstore, so it pays to check around. One copy of Schabas and Janis, and many copies of Volokh, will also be placed on 2-hour Reserve in the Law Library. The additional materials are available only on the website, and are thus free-of-charge. For copyright reasons, the materials portion of the website is password-protected. We will give you your username and password in class.

You are required to check your email regularly for this class. We will pose discussion questions, post important announcements (which will also be posted on the website), and answer your questions related to the course or any of its topics. Participation online will count toward your class participation grade.

IV. Course Requirements

70 % Scholarly Paper: (30+ pages, exclusive of notes, double-spaced with one inch margins) based on a topic relating to the role of an international tribunal(s) in the development of international law. A written topic proposal must be presented for approval by 5 September 2006. An annotated bibliography is due in class on 19 September 2006. An outline is due in class on 3 October 2006. A rough draft is due in class on 24 October 2006. The paper will satisfy the W.C.L. Upper Level Writing Requirement.

The rough draft will be exchanged with a fellow student for peer evaluation and suggestions.

For the final draft, —please note that this is a change from the printed syllabus—you must submit one electronic copy (no paper copies!) to John's email address, The final paper is due on 4 December 2006. Any paper that receives the grade of A or A- will be placed on the International Courts website permanently (not password protected), unless you request otherwise.

The paper must be submitted in a word processing format, such as OpenDocument (OpenOffice is one word processor that saves in this format), Microsoft Word, or WordPerfect. Please do not submit it in an image format (jpg, tiff, etc.) or in PDF format, as we cannot open these and make comments on them. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your format choice, please ask us.

Failure to submit a topic proposal, an annotated bibliography, an outline, or a rough draft on time will adversely effect your grade for the paper, We will lower your final paper grade by a partial letter grade for any of these requirements for which we feel you have not made a good-faith effort.

20 % Class Presentation: An informal short topic presentation to the class early in the semester and a 20 minute major class presentation on paper topic at the end of the semester. The grade will be based on the following factors: preparation, organization, grasp of topic, effective use of time, and responsiveness to questions.

10 % Class Participation: evaluation of attendance, preparation for and participation in assigned discussions, preparation for and participation in class room discussion, and participation in the online discussion.

V. Attendance

All students are expected to attend and participate in classes. More than three unexcused absences will result in entry of a failing grade for the course.

VI. Late Papers and Plagiarism

VI. Late papers and Plagiarism

Late Papers

Papers are due in John Heywood's email account ( no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 4 December 2006. If you are graduating this December, you MUST get your paper in by this date in order to graduate. We need time to read and evaluate your work before assigning a grade. If you miss this deadline, we may not be able to turn your grade in to the Registrar in time for you to graduate.

Papers turned in after this date and time without a previously approved extension will be penalized one parital letter grade for every weekday (excluding holidays) after the due date. A partial letter grade is the step between any of the following grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, F. The day ends at 5:00 p.m.

Example: A paper is turned in at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 December 2006, without a pre-approved extension. If the paper had been turned in on time, it would have received a B+. The paper was effectively handed in on Thursday, 7 December 2006, and is thus 3 days late. It receives the grade of C+.

Short extensions for worthy causes, such as computer failure, family emergency, my dog ate my disk/paper, etc., will be granted with no penalty if you apply for it before the time the paper is due. (i.e., If you are printing out your paper 10 minutes before 5:00 p.m. on the fourth of December and your computer dies, call us immediately.) These extensions will be very short in duration; no more than a day or two.

Plagiarism and Related Problems

Everyone knows that plagiarism is wrong, but not everyone is clear exactly what plagiarism is. It is more than just copying the work of another without attribution. We have listed the various forms of plagiarism below in descending order of gravity, (1) being classic absolute plagiarism, and (9) being a much lesser version. All of them should be avoided. Non-de minimus plagiarism will be punished. It will result in zero points for the paper, and thus an F for the course. The case will also be turned over to the Office of Student Affairs for prosecution under the W.C.L. Honor Code.

Plagiarism is:

  1. Word-for-word lifting of seven consecutive words or more, without quotation marks or block quotation, and without attribution to any source.

  2. Word-for-word lifting of seven consecutive words or more, without quotation marks or block quotation, with an attribution to a source that was not the original source from which the passage was actually lifted nor the source cited (if any) by that original source.

  3. Word-for-word lifting of seven consecutive words or more, without quotation marks or block quotation, with attribution to a source that was not the original source from which the passage was actually lifted, but was a source cited by that original source.

  4. Word-for-word lifting of seven consecutive words or more, with attribution to the original source from which the passage was actually lifted, but without indication that these are the words of another.

  5. Word-for-word lifting of seven consecutive words or more, without quotation marks or block quotation, with attribution to the original source from which the passage was actually lifted, and with the indication that these are the words of another.

  6. Attributing a quoted passage to a source that does not contain that quoted passage.

  7. Attributing material to a source that does not support the passage for which it is cited.

  8. Misquoting a source.

  9. Lifting a quoted passage and its attribution from another source without acknowledgment or other indication. An example of this would be if you were reading an article by Smith that quoted another article by Jones, and you put the quotation in your paper with an attribution to Jones, but no mention that you got it from Smith who was quoting Jones.

VII. Class Outline

International Courts is a very dynamic field these days; as a result, we reserve the right to change the readings and the topics covered as the seminar progresses. To give everyone a fair chance to do the reading, we will freeze the assignments for a particular class one week before that class.

Class 1 - Introduction to Course
22 August 2006

Class 2 - The Role of International Tribunals in the International Legal System
29 August 2006

Class 3 - International Court of Justice and Its Predecessors
5 September 2006

Class 4 - Regional Courts in the International Legal System
12 September 2006

Class 5 - Human Rights and International Courts
19 September 2006

Class 6 - International Criminal Tribunals, Part I
26 September 2006

Class 7 - International Criminal Tribunals, Part II
3 October 2006

Class 8 - International Criminal Tribunals, Part III
10 October 2006

Class 9 - International Law and the War on Terror
17 October 2006

Class 10 - International Law in Municipal Legal Systems
24 October 2006

Class 11 - Other Tribunals and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the International Legal System
31 October 2006

Classes 12 to 14 - Class Presentations
7 November, 14 November, & 21 November 2006