Law Essay Example on Universality Principle and Its Relationship to Jurisdiction

Published: 2019-11-11
Law Essay Example on Universality Principle and Its Relationship to Jurisdiction
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Criminal law
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1185 words
10 min read

The principle of Universality Principle and Jurisdiction has been classically defined as the legal principle that requires a state to submit criminal proceedings with respect to certain crimes irrespective of the location of the crime and the nationality of the accused. The universality principle calls for a mandatory arrest and trial of any individual who commits an international crime from whichever country in the world, and he or she can be judged at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands. The rationale behind the principle comes from the notion that certain criminal activities are so harmful to the interests of the international community-making countries to oblige to forwarding the proceedings against the perpetrator, this is regardless of the nationality of the individual ("Universal Jurisdiction," 2010).

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The principle of universal jurisdiction has undergone recent changes that cater for the immunity of the Head of State and Amnesty laws of the country. It is imperative to understand that the International Criminal Court statues should comply with the national constitution of the individual states who are signatories of the ICC conventions. The preamble of the International Criminal Court has universal jurisdiction principle referred to as aut dedere aut judicare which asserts that the most serious crimes that do concern to the international fraternity as a whole should never go unpunished, and their effective trial and prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level through enhancing the cooperation with the ICC (Dimitrakos). It also states that; it is the responsibility of every state to exercise its jurisdiction over crimes that fir in the category of international crimes.

The universality jurisdiction principle has its limits in the sense that the international court systems should be complementary and abide by the national criminal jurisdictions of individual states. For an effective implementation of the universality principle, it is imperative that necessary foundational grounds must be set in order to enhance completely transparent cooperation between the international courts and the state. There is a need for an existing ground for a universal jurisdiction that is a signed agreement by the state to forward its proceedings of crimes that are deemed international crimes. Another aspect is that the crime committed should fit in the category of international crimes, a clear definition of the committed crime and its specific constitutive elements (Dimitrakos). The final aspect for universality jurisdiction principle is the availability of the national mechanism of enforcement which allows the national judiciary to take up the case and exercise their national jurisdiction over the crimes committed. This option suits many crimes that see it okay for them to handle the trial of the crimes that have been committed on their soil. The submission to universality principle and the jurisdiction of cases by states can be deemed weak as many countries believe they have mature judicial systems and jurisdiction to handle their cases locally without the intervention of the international community.

Universality principle applies to countries who are signatories of the Rome Statue; this underpins the states to submit cases that are deemed international crimes to the International Criminal Country. However the Rome Statue also clearly defines that states can implement the enactment of the International Crimes Act in their constitutions, this gives the state judiciary to handle crimes that offend the international community irrespective of their location.

Question 2: Sources of International Law

International Law is the identifier of a body of rules that are put in place to regulate the conduct of States in their relationship with other nations in the world. The sources of international laws are a constituent of elements that all combined develop the overall statues of International Law. Treaties, International and Local Court Decisions, General Principle of Laws and Scholarly Writings constitute the sources of international law (Orakhelashvili 1-20).


Customs are tenets of the older opinion on the international law; these were developed before the development of many treaties that have characterized the modern relations among states in the world. Customs stress with a high frequency and length the customary nature of international law. Customs are never fully equated to their usage, the usage of customs developed into a rule based on the belief that an obligation is to be met and so the act exists.

Customs are developed out of a repeat ion of a given act by states; the repetition enhances the creation of respect among nations. Another aspect to it is the psychological element that is known as Juris save necessitates which is the feeling on the part of a state that belief by following up to certain precedents they are fulfilling a legal obligation to another state. A particular code of conduct arises from the use of common practices among nations. The observance of these customs is discretional, and it exists side by side with other practices.


Treaties are agreements signed between states that are intended to govern the relations among states. In the case that the signatories of a treaty is a large number of states and the scope of the treaty document is large enough then the document can be considered to be law-making. The treaties signed may not be a law to the signatories, but it dictates the code of conduct while relating to nations who are signatories of the treaty. The treaty may not be suitable for use in international tribunals, in the case of dispute, international tribunals use the treaty as the law governing the relationship between the disputing states.

Case Decisions

The decisions made in rapid court proceedings that possess international implications has been developed in various court cases and these decisions comprises the international agreements that can be used in the development of International Law. The International Court of Justice case laws excerpts are collected and classified into principal topics which help determine the favorable decisions from the tribunals which can contribute to the development of international laws. Case decisions of international tribunals if not circumscribed narrowly by treaty provisions and other procedural impediments, it is the best source of International Law. International case decisions do not yield to national tribunals due to its fortification of impartiality of interests that is critical to the concept of justice ("Sources Of International Law, Conduct Research," 2016).

Scholarly Writing

The opinions of jurist and other scholars are also meaningful contributors to the development of International Law. The juristic opinion has weight in the development of international laws this is in regard to the years of labor, the work of other jurists who are well acquainted with the law. These persons play a critical role in the formation of international statues that aid in the governing of nations across the world. Their works are resorted to by judicial tribunals in the formation of laws and the passing of prosecutions.

Work Cited

Dimitrakos, D. "The Principle Of Universal Jurisdiction & The International Criminal Court". SSRN Electronic Journal n. pag. Web.

"Lecture 3 Sources Of International Law". N.p., 2016. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.

Orakhelashvili, A. "The Sources Of International Law. By HUGH THIRLWAY". British Yearbook of International Law 84.1 (2014): 355-357. Web.

"Universal Jurisdiction". International Justice Resource Center. N.p., 2010. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.

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