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n Journal for Juridical Science - Universal jurisdiction as procedural tool to institute prosecutions for international core crimes

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Abstract

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) with its intended purpose of ending the cycle of impunity that has notoriously attached to the perpetrators of gross human rights violations in the past hails a new chapter in international criminal law and justice. The structure of jurisdiction introduced by the ICC relies to a great extent on the co-operation of states to nationally prosecute perpetrators of gross violations of human rights. The ICC itself is intended to complement national jurisdiction and will only prosecute the most serious international crimes where the state that can exercise jurisdiction is either unwilling or unable to do so. This by necessity implies that states that are party to the ICC will be expected to establish and foster ways and means to enable themselves to investigate, prosecute, defend, adjudicate and to provide assistance to the ICC. One of the grounds upon which a state may exercise jurisdiction in terms of international criminal law is that of universal jurisdiction. This article explores aspects of the principle of universal jurisdiction and concludes that its application and development is of utmost importance in the quest of the international community to establish a credible international legal order.


Die daarstelling van die Internasionale Strafhof (ISH) met sy verklaarde bedoeling om 'n einde te maak aan die siklus van strafloosheid verbonde aan die plegers van growwwe menseregteskendings, verteenwoordig 'n nuwe era in internasionale strafreg en geregtigheid. Die jurisdiksiestruktuur wat deur die ISH ingevoer is, maak sterk staat op die samewerking van state om plegers van menseregteskendings nasionaal te vervolg. Die ISH is bedoel om nasionale jurisdiksies aan te vul en sal self slegs die mees ernstige internasionale misdade vervolg in omstandighede waar die staat wat wel jurisdiksie mag uitoefen, nie in staat is, of onwillig is, om dit te doen. Dit het bygevolg die effek dat lidlande van die ISH strukture vir die suksesvolle vervolging van internasionale misdrywe sal moet daarstel. Dit geld ook ten opsigte van die vestiging van kapasiteit in lidlande om die ISH by te staan soos beoog in die Statuut van Rome wat die hof gevestig het. Een van die jurisdiksionele gronde waarop state nasionale vervolging mag instel in terme van internasionale strafreg is gegrond op die beginsel van universiele jurisdiksie. Hierdie artikel ondersoek aspekte van die beginsel en kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die aanwending en verdere ontwikkeling daarvan van kardinale belang is in die soeke na 'n geloofwaardige internasionale regsorde.

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/content/juridic/32/1/EJC55579
2007-06-01
2016-12-04
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