13 Pages, Grade: 1,0
B. The scope of immunities of senior state officials
C. The principle of universal jurisdiction
I. Development of the principle of universal jurisdiction
II. Sources of universal jurisdiction
1) Universal jurisdiction in international conventions
2) National legislations providing for universal jurisdiction
D. Universal jurisdiction vs. state officials’ immunities
I. Selected Jurisprudence
1) House of Lords: Pinochet
2) ICJ: Republic of the Congo v. Belgium (Arrest Warrant)
3) Other procedures of relevance
II. Risks of a too broad conception of universality
Beigbeder, Yves, ‘International Justice against Impunity: Progress and New Challenges’, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005
Broomhall, B., ‘International Justice and the International Criminal Court: Between Sovereignty and the Rule of Law’, Oxford: OUP, 2003
Cassese, A., ‘International Law’, 2nd ed., Oxford: OUP, 2003
Cassese, A., ‘When May Senior State Officials Be Tried for International Crimes?: Some Comments on the Congo v. Belgium Case’, 13 European Journal of International Law (2002), pp. 853-875
Colangelo, A.J., ‘The Legal Limits of Universal Jurisdiction’, 47 Virginia Journal of International Law (2006), pp. 149-198
Hall, K.H., ‘Contemporary Universal Jurisdiction’ in Bergsmo, M. (ed.), ‘Human rights and criminal justice for the downtrodden: essays in honour of Asbjørn Eide’, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2003, pp. 111-137
Hawkins, D., ‘Universal Jurisdiction for Human Rights: From Legal Principle to Limited Reality’, 9 Global Governance (2003), pp. 347-365
Klabbers, J., ‘The General, the Lords, and the Possible End of State Immunity’, 68 Nordic Journal of International Law (1999), pp. 85-95
Vandermeersch, D., ‚Prosecuting International Crimes in Belgium’, 3 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2005), pp. 400-421
Werle, G., ‘Principles of International Criminal Law’, The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2005
Following from the general principle of international law imposing respect for the sovereignty of foreign states, senior state officials, as state organs, traditionally are subject to the jurisdiction of their home state only. It became customary law that state officials enjoy immunity of the jurisdiction of foreign states for acts performed in their official capacity, irrespective of the place where the action took place or the persons who were affected by it. In correspondence to the privileges of diplomatic agents, as declared in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, these immunities apply even to private acts.
When it comes to criminal proceedings, traditionally the territoriality principle has to be respected. Especially in cases of international crimes, which in many cases are performed by high ranking state officials, it is often not possible, though, that the trial takes place in either the home state of the accused or the country where the crime took place. The reason may be a lack of political will to prosecute, a national legal system not capable of carrying out an investigation and prosecution, amnesties granted to the accused for their crimes, or the chance that the accused may not receive a fair trial in the country in question.
Prosecution of the committers of the most severe crimes such as genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity consequently proves difficult. Modern international law tries to provide for less strict rules in respect to the jurisdiction. Next to jurisdiction of international courts the principle of universal jurisdiction hereby plays an important role. To prosecute state officials responsible for international crimes before a court of a foreign state however seems to contradict the immunities that are granted to the officials by international law.
In this paper, the scope and the practical relevance of senior state officials’ immunities as well as universal jurisdiction will be examined. Afterwards a look will be taken at their compatibility with each other and the boundaries that are set to them by custom or case law.
 Cassese, International Law, pp. 98, 110-2.
 Ibid., p. 117.
 See Amnesty International, ‘Universal jurisdiction: Questions and answers’, <http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engIOR530202001>, accessed on 15 August 2007.
Bachelor Thesis, 47 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 118 Pages
Thesis (M.A.), 115 Pages
Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 19 Pages
Research Paper (undergraduate), 65 Pages
Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 29 Pages
Term Paper, 31 Pages
Intermediate Examination Paper, 73 Pages
Seminar Paper, 14 Pages
Term Paper, 31 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 155 Pages
Seminar Paper, 19 Pages
Examination Thesis, 34 Pages
Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 26 Pages
Diploma Thesis, 107 Pages
GRIN Publishing, located in Munich, Germany, has specialized since its foundation in 1998 in the publication of academic ebooks and books. The publishing website GRIN.com offer students, graduates and university professors the ideal platform for the presentation of scientific papers, such as research projects, theses, dissertations, and academic essays to a wide audience.
Free Publication of your term paper, essay, interpretation, bachelor's thesis, master's thesis, dissertation or textbook - upload now!