The criminology of international crimes focuses on international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Until recently criminologists were not very interested in studying international crimes. How can this be explained? And what made criminologists suddenly interested in international crimes? What is the contribution criminologists can offer to the study of international crimes? Which mainstream criminological theories can help us understand international crimes? To what extent should we consider international crimes and ordinary crimes as two different types of crime? Or are they not so different as generally assumed? What distinguishes ordinary crimes from international crimes? And how can we study international crimes? What methods are used and what have criminologists studying international crimes found so far? What is the state of art in the criminology of international crimes?

Master         Lezingen


  • - Forms and manifestations of international crimes
  • - Characteristics of international crimes
  • - International crimes as a form of criminality
  • - Mainstream criminological theories and their applicability to international crimes
  • - Perpetrators of international crimes
  • - Victims of international crimes
  • - Bystanders to international crimes
  • - Child soldiers
  • - Genocide
  • - Crimes against humanity
  • - Torture
  • - War crimes
  • - War time sexual violence
  • - Prosecuting international crimes
  • - Alternative means to criminal prosecutions
  • - Truth and reconciliation commissions
  • - Preventing international crimes


Target audience

Lectures, workshops, courses and training on these themes can be given to almost any audience: professionals, policy makers, lawyers, people working at NGOs, police officers, soldiers, fellow scholars, students, schoolchildren or the general public. Single lectures of 45 minutes up to 2 hours can be given but also workshops which last half a day, a training which can last from half day up to one week or a complete course which is taught in regularly weekly meetings during a full semester.


Alette Smeulers has many years of experience in teaching academic courses on international crimes in academia. She has given many lectures and guest lectures on international crimes and has presented numerous papers on these themes. She has given these lectures and presented papers to a huge variety of audiences. All her courses and papers were very well evaluated.

In the Netherlands Alette Smeulers can be considered the founder of the criminology of international crimes. She has set up a worldwide unique master called International Crimes and Criminology at VU University and has developed many of the courses currently still taught within this master.

Academic course taught

  • - International and comparative criminology - master - University of Groningen (2014-2016)
  • - Criminology of International Crimes – honours - Tilburg University (2013-2014)
  • - International Crimes and Criminology – bachelor course– University of Liege, Belgium (2012-2013)
  • - Research seminars – master course - VU University Amsterdam (2009-2011)
  • - Master International Crimes and Criminology – VU University – (2008-2011)
  • - International Crimes – master course - VU University Amsterdam (2008-2011)

Guestlectures and paper presentations

  • - The criminology of international crimes, Intervict master, Tilburg University, 10 April 2013.
  • - The criminology of international crimes, ALCN, Nyanza, Rwanda, 4 March 2013.
  • - In opdracht van de staat, Inaugural speech, Tilburg University, 27 April 2012.
  • - Where is criminology in transitional justice, Brussels, Belgium, 5-6 December 2011.
  • - Genocide en andere internationale misdrijven: de ultieme vorm van state crime, Students criminology meeting in Leiden, 27 November 2009.
  • - Criminology discovers international criminal law, International Studies Association (ISA), New York, United States, 15 February 2009.
  • - Internationale misdrijven – het grote kwaad: een andere vorm van criminaliteit?, Annual Criminology conference, 19 June 2008
  • - NGO’s als informatieverschaffer, School of Human Rights, Tilburg University , 15 November 2002.