This briefing looks at the need for a new law to broaden universal jurisdiction in the UK. The principle of universal jurisdiction allows courts in any country to prosecute perpetrators of the most serious violations of international law regardless of where they happened and the nationality of those involved.
In cases of international crimes where there is no prospect of justice in the territory where the alleged crimes took place, international tribunals can be established, and there is the permanent International Criminal Court. However, international mechanisms for upholding international law are hamstrung by political agendas of powerful countries, which means that dictators and authoritarian regimes continue to commit atrocities with impunity.
Currently, opportunities for the application of universal jurisdiction in the UK are severely limited. There is an urgent need for a new universal jurisdiction law in the UK so that all crimes listed under the Rome Statute can be prosecuted in the UK.