Sunday, February 23, 2020

Universal jurisdiction application of International Law Essay

Universal jurisdiction application of International Law - Essay Example Universal jurisdiction refers to universal prescriptive jurisdiction and obliges states to assume jurisdiction over international crimes that are especially serious regardless of where the crime was committed (O’Keefe, 745). According to the dissenting opinion of Van den Wyngaert, the definition of universal jurisdiction is not clearly established under international Convention or customary international law with the result that the definition is uncertain (Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 also known as Joint Separate Opinion of Judges Higgins, Koijmans and Brugenthal). However, the International Law Commission and the International Criminal Court Statute both provide ample explanation of the concept of universal jurisdiction and its purpose. This paper identifies and analyses the international law on universal jurisdiction and identifies where uncertainties may arise. Definition and Concepts of Universal Jurisdiction According to the International Law Commission’s Report of the Sixth Committee, universal jurisdiction is defined as: †¦a legal principle allowing or requiring a state to bring criminal proceedings in respect of certain crimes irrespective of the location of the crime and the nati onality of the perpetrator or the victim (1). Arguably, the concept of universal jurisdiction is also referred to in the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, 1998 (ICC Statute). The Preamble to the ICC Statute, states that â€Å"the most serious crimes of concern to the international community† â€Å"must not go unpunished† and that all member states will implement laws for ensuring the â€Å"effective prosecution of† of those crimes† and in doing so, the international community must cooperate (ICC Statute, Preamble). More specifically, the Rome Statute of the ICC goes further to state that: †¦it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes (Preamble). According to the Joint Separate Opinion of Judges Higgins, Koijmans and Brugenthal, various states have implemented laws conferring jurisdiction on them over international crimes. However, none of these states have provide d for jurisdiction over crimes to which the enabling state does not have some form of connection (Joint Separate Opinion of Judges Higgins, Koijmans and Brugenthal, 70). National courts have been more decisive however. For example, the Federal Court of Australia listed a number of international crimes over which it had universal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Austria ruled that it had universal jurisdiction over crimes of genocide. The United States has assumed universal jurisdiction in two notable cases, Yunis in 1988 and Bin Laden in 2000(Joint Separate Opinion of Judges Higgins, Koijmans and Brugenthal). Some states are hesitant to assume jurisdiction over a matter that another state has jurisdiction over. For example both the UK and the Russian Federation have expresses similar views against one state assuming jurisdiction over a matter that relates to an offence that was committed within the territory of another state (Joint Separate Opinion of Judges Higgins, Koijmans and Brugenthal). Regardless, in addition to international treaties in which jurisdiction over specific crimes such as torture and genocide require some form of link to the offence, the offender or the victims in order to confer jurisdiction, universal jurisdi

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