The History of the Centre

The South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice (2008 – 2018) was one of seven Centres of African Excellence, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the German Foreign Office.

The Centre was based on a cooperation between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and was housed in the Law Faculty of UWC. It offered the LL.M.- and PhD-programme “Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention – An International and African Perspective”.

LL.M. Programme

The LL.M.-programme comprised the modules Transitional Justice, International Criminal Law, Law Relating to Organised Crime and Money Laundering, as well as International Anti-Corruption Law. The lectures were delivered by permanent teaching staff and by visiting experts. The programme started in late January of each year. During the mid-year vacation in June/July, the students travelled to Germany for a two-week summer school at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Students who passed all their modules and the research paper (final thesis) were awarded their LL.M. degree in early December.

In respect of each module a candidate had to submit at least one written assignment and pass the written examination at the end of the course. Furthermore, at the end of the second semester, the candidates had to present a research paper (LL.M. thesis) in a module of their choice, which demonstrated the candidate’s ability to conduct independent research. In addition to the four core modules, lectures on Comparative Criminal Law and Modern Legal History were offered in order to broaden the horizon of the students.

Core Modules

Transitional Justice

The module on Transitional Justice covered both legal issues and contemporary history. It dealt with the legal framework for transitions from a dictatorship to a democracy or from violent conflict to peace, illustrated by different country situations. The course gave a general overview, and investigated the challenges presented by transitions to systems of justice. The course also allowed for the discussion of recent developments, with a focus on transitional justice in Africa.

International Criminal Law

The module on International Criminal Law gave an insight into the international dimension of criminal law, with a focus on current developments in the case law of the international courts and tribunals. It covered the historical development of international criminal law as well as its foundations in international law. The module dealt with the enforcement of international criminal law by international, hybrid and national courts, with a particular focus on the structure and procedure of the International Criminal Court. The focus of the course, however, was substantive international criminal law, namely, general principles, as well as the structure and elements of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

Law Relating to Organised Crime and Money Laundering

The module on Law Relating to Organised Crime and Money Laundering focused, inter alia, on the following aspects: the theory of money laundering; confiscation and forfeiture; money laundering and links to the illicit drugs trade; typologies of money laundering in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region; the regulatory legal framework and SADC Protocols; issues relating to the regulation of banks and the finance industry, including state regulations and industry self regulation. This module also dealt with the international agreements in the area of organised crime.

International Anti-Corruption Law

The fourth module focused on corruption and the illegal use of public office for private gain. The course, among others, dealt with the following topics: the definition and scope of corruption (what is corruption and why does it matter?); international, regional and national regulatory anti-corruption framework; causes and consequences of bureaucratic corruption; endemic corruption in underdeveloped and developed countries; anti-corruption in transitional states with special focus on state-enterprise interactions in granting of tenders; judicial corruption; challenging corruption in Africa: case studies; when are anti-corruption campaigns successful?; corporate criminal liability; international co-operation; extradition; confiscation, seizure and asset recovery procedures.

PhD Programme

Each year two scholarships for a PhD were offered to graduates of the LL.M. course or graduates of other Universities.

Here you can find current and completed PhD projects.