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Averting Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction

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Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Irit Kohn

Funder(s): Wechsler Family Foundation

Funder(s): Wechsler Family Foundation

Topic: International relations (International and regional organizations)
Law and ethics (International law)

Keywords: israel; universal jurisdiction; united nations; international law

Type: Report

Coverage: Israel

Abstract:

Universal jurisdiction refers to the power of a state to try any individual for war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide committed outside its borders, even when those crimes were not committed against that country or its citizens, and even if the accused is not its citizen. NGOs that are supported financially by special interest groups or even states for the benefit of their own agendas have been instrumental in the implementation of universal jurisdiction against Israeli officials. It is important to remember that universal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court are applied when a country does not or cannot act to prosecute. Yet Israel is a democracy with a well-developed judicial system and does not need external intervention to conduct any investigation.