universal jurisdiction

issue
Helen Mack, sister of murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, speaks at March 2015 meeting of La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) (Photo: Flickr/cidh/Daniel Cima)
02 December 2015

IJT 188 takes a close look at Guatemala's newly opened 'high-risk' court, which many hope will expedite lawsuits concerning the country's decades-long armed conflict. 

Other features:

  • In the Netherlands, an Afghan army commander-turned-Dutch national was arrested and accused of war crimes allegedly committed in 1979.
  • In Bangladesh, two men were hanged for committing international crimes during the war of independence, compelling many Bangladeshis to celebrate and international human rights organizations to question the International Crimes Tribunal's fairness.
  • While ICC state parties held their annual meeting last month in The Hague, groups discussed on the side whether ecocide could become the fifth crime against peace.

 

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A sign marks the entrance of the asylum application centre of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (Photo: Flickr/directie_voorlichting_venj)
12 November 2015 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

In an extraordinary case testing the boundaries of universal jurisdiction and refugee law, an alleged war criminal of Afghan origin who had acquired Dutch nationality has been arrested in the Netherlands at the initiative of victims.

 

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11 November 2009 by Thijs Bouwknegt

As the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) prepares to close its doors in Tanzania, courts around the world are taking up the task of trying suspected Rwandan génocidaires. They do so under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction: a doctrine that allows prosecutors to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, war crimes or genocide committed elsewhere. 
 

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30 March 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

It is winter, four years after the Rwandan genocide. Joseph Mpambara arrives at Schiphol airport, carrying a false Ugandan passport. He tells Dutch Immigration officials that he fled his village Mugonero in 1994. He says he feared for his life as Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels massacred Hutus. Later, Mpambara feared persecution because he had testified in defence of his brother at the ICTR.