Jurisdiction

2354 Words10 Pages
Jurisdiction has always been ubiquitous in the international legal system. Lassa Oppenheim describes jurisdiction essentially “as the state’s right to regulate conduct or the consequences of events.” Jurisdiction is multi-faceted, one area that has been the cause of controversy amongst many academics is universal jurisdiction. Defining universal jurisdiction has been problematic to say the least. Roger O’Keefe in his article alluded to universal jurisdiction as “the assertion of criminal jurisdiction by a state in the absence of any other generally recognised head of prescriptive jurisdiction.” Originally, the grounds for invoking universal jurisdiction were limited to piracy. More recently, the rationales have been broadened to encompass heinous crimes and violations of prohibitions with jus cogens status. Even if the crime does not affect the forum state, crimes with a hostis humani generis element are accepted as sufficient to invoke universal jurisdiction. The foundations that universal jurisdiction stood on were indeed ‘shaky’, those foundations have caused its application to become disjointed and leave question marks over the legality of the principle. Throughout the following paragraphs I will look at those foundations and the principle that was built around them, study the main issues, namely the legality of its application and prerequisites to applying universal jurisdiction and the problems pertaining from them. After this I will also look at how academics, politicians, governments and cross governmental organisation are attempting to correct the issues. The long standing reasoning for such scope of jurisdiction is said to be piracy, a problem which has affected and still affects many today. Piracy was long a proble... ... middle of paper ... ...ndorsement and encouragement of ‘wide dissemination’’ of the Principles. The fourteen principles seek to address issues seen above along with addressing issues which may arise in the near future. The project realised that what the law is and what it ought to be were two different things, and they sought to narrow the gap. By studying the principles and the accompanying commentary you can see the divergence which universal jurisdiction can take, and can easily comprehend how the notion has become almost farcical. Hopefully countries will continue to interact on the issue and further uptake on the principles mentioned above will take place. In doing so the said topic will become aligned throughout the world. Then, the use of it may perfect injustices and address human right infringements, which should be the fundamental reasoning behind this form of jurisdiction.
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