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Restoring The Rule Of Law: Ending Official Elite Impunity For International Crimes

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Chapter Summary

The customary principle of universal jurisdiction appears today in a variety of international criminal law instruments and domestic legislation, but use of such a jurisdictional competence against foreign officials who are reasonably accused of international crime is far from adequate and threatens to undermine respect for the rule of law. It is time for states to make greater effort to end official elite impunity. This chapter pays attention to five interrelated principles relevant to international criminal law enforcement: (1) the customary principle of universal jurisdiction; (2) the principle of universal responsibility; (3) the universal reach of universal jurisdiction to official elites and individuals of any status; (4) the principle that domestic law is not an excuse at the international level or in other states; and (5) the principle that state laws, orders, and actions in violation of international law are without authority and ultra vires.

Keywords: criminal law enforcement; elite impunity; international criminal law instruments; rule of law; universal jurisdiction



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