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Modern Developments in Universal Jurisdiction: Addressing Impunity in Tibet and Beyond

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The article traces recent trends in the development of universal jurisdiction, focusing in particular on the emergence of "absolute universality" according to which exercise of jurisdiction is not dependant on the presence of the alleged perpetrator on the prosecuting State's territory. Placing modern events in a historical context, the article documents the progression of "absolute" universal jurisdiction in Spain, culminating in an appraisal of proceedings initiated there against former Chinese government officials for their roles in an alleged genocide in Tibet. Key issues such as the principle's relationship with the International Criminal Court, the perceived threat it poses to State sovereignty, the possibility of politicised prosecutions and the problem of maintaining a consistent definition of genocide are discussed. In conclusion the author argues that the right of a State to exercise "absolute" universal jurisdiction constitutes a crystallising norm of customary international law.

Affiliations: 1: Intern, International Bar Association

10.1163/157181209X418562
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/content/journals/10.1163/157181209x418562
2009-05-01
2016-12-03

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