Universal jurisdiction

See War crimes, Grave breaches, Individual criminal responsibility;

Based on the notion that certain crimes are so grave that they affect the international community as a whole, the principle of universal jurisdiction, which entitles a State to prosecute offenders even in the absence of any link between the crime committed and the prosecuting state, is one means of facilitating and securing the repression of such crimes. The rationale of universal jurisdiction is to avoid impunity and to prevent those who committed serious crimes from finding a safe haven in third countries. Indeed, universal jurisdiction enables all states to fulfill their duty to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of war crimes. In order to make this principle effective, States are required to establish universal jurisdiction for war crimes in their national legislation.





 BOELART-SUOMINEN Sonja, “Grave Breaches, Universal Jurisdiction and Internal Armed Conflict: Is Customary Law Moving Towards a Uniform Enforcement Mechanism for all Armed Conflicts?”, in Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol. 5/1, 2000, pp. 63-103.

D’ARGENT Pierre, “La loi du 10 février 1999 relative à la répression des violations graves du droit international humanitaire”, in Journal des Tribunaux, Brussels, Vol. 118, No. 5935, 1999, pp. 549-555.

DINSTEIN Yoram, “The Universality Principle and War Crimes”, in International Law Studies, US Naval War College, Vol. 71, 1998, pp. 17-37.

FERDINANDUSSE Ward, “The Prosecution of Grave Breaches in National Courts”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 723-741.

HENZELIN Marc, Le principe de l’universalité en droit pénal international, Droit et obligation pour les États de poursuivre et juger selon le principe de l’universalité, Geneva/Brussels, Helbing & Lichtenhahn/Bruylant, 2000, 527 pp.

HENZELIN Marc, “La compétence pénale universelle. Une question non résolue par l’arrêt Yerodia”, in RGDIP, No. 4, October-December 2002, pp. 819-854.

KEIJZER Nico, “War Crimes and their Prosecution in National Legal Systems”, in RDMDG, Vol. 38/1-4, 1999, pp. 411-429.

KISSINGER Henry A., “The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction”, in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80/4, 2001, pp. 86-96.

MERON Theodor, “Reflections on the Prosecution of War Crimes by International Tribunals”, in American Journal of International Law, Vol. 100, No. 3, pp. 551-579.

O’KEEFE Roger, “The Grave Breaches Regime and Universal Jurisdiction”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 811-832.

O’KEEFE Roger, “Universal Jurisdiction: Clarifying the Basic Concept”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 2, Issue 3, 2004, pp. 735-760.

ORENTLICHER Diane F., “Responsibilities of States Participating in Multilateral Operations with Respect to Persons Indicted for War Crimes”, in JOYNER Christopher C. (ed.), Reining in Impunity for International Crimes and Serious Violations of Fundamental Human Rights, Toulouse, Erès, 1998, pp. 193-206.

OSIEL Mark, “Why Prosecute? Critics of Punishment for Mass Atrocity”, in Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 22/1, 2000, pp. 118-147.

STERN Brigitte, “À propos de la compétence universelle”, in YAKPO Émile (ed.), Liber amicorum Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui, The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999, pp. 735-753.

PHILIPPE Xavier, “The Principles of Universal Jurisdiction and Complementarity: How do the Two Principles Intermesh?”, in IRRC, Vol. 88, No. 862, June 2006, pp. 375-398.

ROULOT Jean-François, “La répression des crimes contre l’humanité par les juridictions criminelles en France : une répression nationale d’un crime international”, in Revue de Science Criminelle et de Droit Pénal Comparé, Vol. 3, 1999, pp. 545-562.

RYNGAERT Cedric, “Universal Jurisdiction over Violations of International Humanitarian Law in Germany”, in Revue de droit militaire et de droit de la guerre = The military Law and the Law of War Review, 47, 3-4, 2008, pp. 377-399.

VAN DER VYVER David, “Universal Jurisdiction in International Criminal Law”, in South African Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 24, 1999, pp. 107-132.

VANDERMEERSCH Damien, “Quel avenir pour la compétence universelle des juridictions belges en matière de crime de droit international humanitaire”, in Revue pénitentiaire et de droit pénal, Paris, Cujas, 2003, pp. 229-248.

VANDERMEERSCH Damien, “Le principe de compétence universelle à la lumière de l’expérience belge : le mouvement de balancier”, in RUDETZKI Françoise (ed.), Terrorisme, victimes et responsabilité pénale internationale, Paris, Calmann-Levy, 2003, pp. 463-474.

VANDERMEERSCH Damien, “Prosecuting International Crimes in Belgium”, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 3, 2005, pp. 400-421.

VAN ELST Richard, “Implementing Universal Jurisdiction over Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions”, in Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, 2000, pp. 815-854.