Genocide, State Crime and the Law

Subject 191-537 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week , 6.5 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate certificate/ diploma or fourth-year honours in criminology, socio-legal studies or sociology, or the Master of Criminology, Master of International Politics or Master of Social Policy
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr. Jennifer Balint
Subject Overview: Genocide, State Crime and the Law examines the differing roles played by law and legal process in the wake of genocide and other forms of state crime. It examines the limitations and potentials of law in addressing mass harm, in particular analysing the role and function of law in societal reconstruction and reconciliation. Case studies analysed include Rwanda, South Africa, East Timor, the former Yugoslavia, the Holocaust, Australia and Cambodia.
  • Be familiar with a range of approaches to addressing genocide and state crime;
  • Understand the social, political, cultural and historical contexts of legal and quasi-legal responses to genocide and state crime;
  • Possess a critical understanding of these choices;
  • Be able to critically and constructively discuss the limitations and potentials of law in the context of addressing mass harm;
  • Be able to critically and constructively discuss the limitations and potentials of law in reconstruction and reconciliation.
Assessment: Written work of 5000 words, 100% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semester
Recommended Texts: Luc Huyse, "Justice after Transition: On the Choices Successor Elites Make in Dealing with the Past", Law and Social Inquiry, Vol 20, No 1, 1995, pp 51-78; Alvarez, José E. (1999), 'Crimes of State/Crimes of Hate: Lessons from Rwanda', The Yale Journal of International Law, 24 (2): 365-483; E. Christodoulidis and S. Veitch, eds. (2001), Lethe's Law. Justice, Law and Ethics in Reconciliation, Oxford: Hart Publishing; Boraine, A. et al (1997), Dealing with the past: truth and reconciliation in South Africa, Cape Town: IDASA; Hayner, P. (2000), Unspeakable truths: confronting state terror and atrocities, New York: Routledge; Mamdani, M. (2001), When victims become killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; Mani. R. (2002), Beyond Retribution. Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War, Cambridge: Polity Press; Minow, M. (1998), Between vengeance and forgiveness: facing history after genocide and mass violence, Boston: Beacon Press; Teitel, R. G. (2000), Transitional Justice, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Bass, Gary Jonathan (2000), Stay the Hand of Vengeance. The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press; Cohen, Stanley (1995), "State Crimes of Previous Regimes: Knowledge, Accountability and the Policing of the Past", Law and Social Inquiry, Vol 20, No 1, pp 7-50; Kirchheimer, Otto (1961), Political Justice. The Use of Legal Procedure for Political Ends, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press; Maria Los, (1995), "Lustration and Truth Claims: Unfinished Revolutions in Central Europe", Law & Social Inquiry, Vol 20, No 1, pp 117-162; Nino, Carlos Santiago (1996), Radical Evil on Trial, New Haven and London: Yale University Press; Osiel, Mark J. (1997), Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory, and the Law, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers; Timothy L.H. McCormack and Gerry J. Simpson, eds. (1997), The Law of War Crimes. National and International Approaches, The Hague: Kluwer Law International.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have highly developed cognitive, analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • have an advanced understanding of complex concepts and the ability to express them lucidly in writing and orally;
Notes: Formerly available as 191-537. Students who have completed 191-537 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Master of Criminology (CWT)
Master of Development Studies (Gender & Development)
Master of International Politics
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Criminology
Socio-Legal studies
Socio-legal Studies

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