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.
Legal Action Worldwide (LAW)’s No Safe Haven (NSH) project seeks to end international impunity for war criminals and the perpetrators of human rights violations and to provide justice to the victims of such atrocities. LAW works closely with a number of senior lawyers to identify and pursue cases using Universal Jurisdiction (UJ) laws in around the world.
The NSH project provides advice and support to lawyers and NGOs working to launch criminal prosecutions and/ or civil claims against those suspected of grave human rights violations or war crimes. It also works to establish a strategic litigation fund that would support lawyers working on such cases.
The initiative to establish the NSH project was supported by leading human rights NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The Aegis Trust and private law firms such as Hickman & Rose and Bindmans LLP, as well as barristers. The NSH project became part of Legal Action Worldwide in September 2013.
The WJ working group
LAW coordinates the UJ Working Group based in London. The working group is comprised of around 15 different NGOs and law firms. The group meets to coordinate work and share experiences in order for practitioners to remain up-to-date with UJ legal developments in the UK, as well as to reflect on the relative successes of specific UJ cases globally.
LAW London Launch 2015
As part of LAW’s launch in London in March 2015, it hosted a series of events focused on UJ. LAW’s executive director, Antonia Mulvey introduced a high-level panel discussion at Doughty Street Chambers on the future of universal jurisdiction and the need for a special litigation fund, featuring eminent panellists: Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, Professor John Dugard (Chair), Daniel Machover and Carla Ferstman.
Antonia also chaired a closed roundtable event on the application of Special Mission Immunity status in the UK.
How can NSH help you?
Training on Universal Jurisdiction: The NSH project welcomes enquiries for training and advice on universal jurisdiction cases. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joining the NSH Network: Please contact email@example.com if you would like to become part of the NSH universal jurisdiction network.