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Violations of Fundamental Norms of International Law and the Exercise of Universal Jurisdiction in Criminal Matters

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Chapter Summary

This chapter mainly focuses on the exercise of universal jurisdiction with regard to the three core crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It also concentrates on the question whether with regard to those crimes universal jurisdiction is indeed well founded in customary international law, given that it is with regard to those crimes that the debate has been most vivid, while for other crimes, such as piracy, there can be no doubt that States do indeed have the entitlement to exercise universal jurisdiction. The chapter discusses the issue of the legality of universal jurisdiction in absentia. The first issue that arises, however, is whether a violation of a norm erga omnes or jus cogens does per se carry with it the right of any State to exercise universal criminal jurisdiction.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; customary international law; genocide; piracy; universal criminal jurisdiction; violation of erga omnes obligations; violations of jus cogens; war crimes



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