LAW’s No Safe Haven Project explores how universal and extraterritorial jurisdiction can be used to secure accountability for international crimes. LAW works closely with partners, including senior international lawyers, to identify potential cases and jurisdictions where those cases could be pursued.
You can read more about LAW’s strategic litigation work here.
Universal jurisdiction (UJ) gives domestic courts jurisdiction over certain international crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, irrespective of where those crimes occurred. These crimes pose so great a threat to the international community that states have a duty to prosecute. There should be no safe haven for those who have committed such crimes.
In some places, extraterritorial jurisdiction (EJ) is utilised. This requires there to be a link to the jurisdiction where the crime will be prosecuted, such as the nationality or residence of the perpetrator, or of the victim.
Recent instances where UJ and EJ have been used include the opening of an investigation by prosecutors in Argentia against Myanmar military commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, into crimes perpetrated against the Rohingya, and the conviction of a former Syrian intelligence officer in Germany for crimes against humanity perpetrated in Syria.