Universal jurisdiction : a preliminary survey of legislation around the world : 2012 update
London : Amnesty International, 2012
124 p. : tabl. ; 30 cm
Universal jurisdiction, an essential tool of international justice, is the ability of the court of any state to try persons for crimes committed outside its territory that are not linked to the state by the nationality of the suspect or the victims or by harm to the state’s own national interests. The Sixth (Legal) Committee of the UN General Assembly began having annual discussions of the scope and application of this rule of customary international law three years ago at the request of the African Union (AU). In that request, the AU proclaimed its support for “the principle of universal jurisdiction within the context of fighting impunity as well as the need to punish perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”, but expressed its concerned about the supposed “ad hoc and arbitrary application, particularly towards African leaders”. That request followed the publication of a joint study of an ad hoc expert group that had been commissioned by the AU and European Union Troika. This preliminary survey by Amnesty International of legislation around the world is designed to assist the Sixth Committee in its discussions of universal jurisdiction. The updated version takes into account amendments to national legislation in Luxembourg and Comoros extending the scope of jurisdiction of their courts to provide for universal jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that have taken place since the preliminary survey was published in October 2011.