IBA Annual Conference Miami 2022

30 Oct - 4 Nov 2022

Room 233, Level 2

Session information

Universal jurisdiction and the move of national courts to the forefront of international criminal justice
Room 233, Level 2 View location
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War Crimes Committee (Lead)
IBA's Human Rights Institute


HumanRightsAs a legal mechanism, universal jurisdiction expands the possibilities for justice in areas where the International Criminal Court's involvement will likely remain limited due to legal, security, logistical, and political constraints. This panel explores the contours of universal jurisdiction and the practical implications of its use, using trials and investigations of crimes in multiple countries as case studies of its application. A prime case study is the situation of Syria. Whereas established international institutions such as the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court have been unable to provide any real measure of accountability for the large-scale crimes alleged to have been committed in Syria since 2011, domestic prosecution services in several countries have stepped in to fill the void. Individuals have been convicted before various national courts for a range of atrocity crimes committed in Syria and many more investigations are underway. Several of these criminal cases have only been possible on the basis of the contested notion of universal jurisdiction.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Carmen Cheung Ka-Man Center for Justice & Accountability, San Francisco, California, USA


Charles Jalloh International Law Commission, Miami, Florida, USA
Steven Powles Doughty Street Chambers, London, England; Member, War Crimes Committee Advisory Board
Miša Zgonec-Rozej International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands