About the project

IDEA UK, with the support of the OSF Justice Initiative, has launched a valuable resource on international criminal justice for debaters, students and citizens that are interested in understanding the concepts and procedures of international criminal justice and are following the various trials taking place today at international tribunals.

We have also developed introductory materials for students that wish to participate in moot court, i.e. extracurricular simulated court proceedings, an activity that is extremely popular in law schools worldwide and helps students gain practice in the processes of international criminal justice.

The resource consists of:

  • A collection of trial monitoring posts from the OSF Justice Initiative
  • A large collection of Debatabase articles on issues related to international criminal justice
  • Backgrounders on issues related to international criminal law
  • Guides to moot court activities and legal research


Debatabase topics provide both sides of the debate rather than giving just one side of the argument as most blogs, newspapers and other articles you can find online do. We want you to make up your own mind on these important issues and believe you need both sides of the argument to make an informed choice.


We have prepared brief background notes on the history of international criminal law,  a brief timeline of its evolution, the definition of international criminal law, the concept of victor's justice, information on war crimes, crimes against humanitygenocide and crimes of aggression as well as the most important courts for international criminal justice, the ICC, the ICTY, the ICTR and the SCSL.

Moot Court Guide

Law students – and those pursuing other things -  benefit greatly from mooting, but may not always get a chance to participate. Some universities lack the resources, focus, willing or expertise to run an effective mooting competition, perhaps leading to only the occasional moot, possibly against another university – or no moots at all. This handbook aims to provide a rough guide on how to run a simple but effective competition over a few weeks, either internally or with other nearby universities. Mooting can by staff or student law societies, or even a separate mooting organization. 

Research Guide

Legal material is often behind paywalls, and international criminal law is no exception. However, a wealth of case law and other legal material is available for free on the website of the various tribunals and courts. Our guide aims to help students and citizens find these resources and use them.

Trial Monitoring

The Open Society Justice Initiative, part of the Open Society Foundations, has been providing regular reports on international criminal proceedings, first covering the trial of Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, then at the International Criminal Court since the opening of the court’s first trial against Thomas Lubanga in 2009. Maintaining a steady stream of information and offering a forum for public discussion, the Open Society Justice Initiative seeks to connect international judicial procedures with the needs of victims—and of war-scarred societies—to see that justice is done.

The five trials featured on our website are:

Thomas Lubanga

Thomas Lubanga was the first person to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. He was indicted on accusations of the use of child soldiers during the 1999-2007 Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which the Union of Congolese Patriots, which he founded, was involved.

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Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

While also implicated in incidents within his home country as well, DR Congolese businessman Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is on trial at the ICC for events in the Central African Republic.

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ICC Kenya Monitor

The International Criminal Court investigation is concerned with violence after the disputed 2007 Presidential election. After the announcement of the PNU’s Mwai Kibaki as winner, supporters of the ODM’s Raila Odinga rejected the results, demonstrated, largely ethnic violence caused 1,500 deaths and 600,000 displacements. The Kenyan government launched a commission, which recommended a special tribunal, which was politically rejected in Kenya, leading to the commission to send evidence to the ICC.

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Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, was tried for events that took place in the Sierra Leone Civil War.

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Germain Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui

The joined trials of Germain Katanga and Ngudjolo Chui concern two individuals alleged to have been involved in militias participating in the Congolese war. Katanga and Chui, alleged leaders of the FPRI and FNI militias respectively, are accused of the massacre of 200 civilians, sexual enslavement and the use of child soldiers in an attack on the village of Bogoro in 2003, which at the time was controlled by Thomas Lubanga (convicted by the ICC himself) and his UPC militia.

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