A Proposal for the International Law Commission to Study Universal Criminal Jurisdiction
African Journal of International Criminal Justice 2018 (4) 1-2, pp 51-77.
28 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2018 Last revised: 10 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 22, 2020
The principle of universal jurisdiction is a unique ground of jurisdiction in international law that may permit a State to exercise national jurisdiction over certain crimes in the interest of the international community. This means that a State may exercise jurisdiction regarding a crime committed by a foreign national against another foreign national outside its territory. Such jurisdiction differs markedly from the traditional bases of jurisdiction under international law, which typically require some type of territorial, nationality or other connection between the State exercising the jurisdiction and the conduct at issue. Due to the definitional and other ambiguities surrounding the universality principle, which has in its past application strained and today continues to strain relations among States at the bilateral, regional and international levels, this paper successfully made the case for the inclusion of "Universal Criminal Jurisdiction" as a topic in the long-term program of work of the International Law Commission during its Seventieth Session (2018). It was submitted that taking up a study of this timely topic, which has been debated by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly since 2010, could enhance clarity for States and thereby contribute to the rule of law in international affairs.
Keywords: international criminal law, jurisdiction, universal jurisdiction, universal criminal jurisdiction
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