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Universal jurisdiction over war crimes

31-10-2013 Legal Fact Sheet

Based on the notion that certain crimes are so grave that they affect the international community as a whole, the principle of universal jurisdiction, which entitles a State to prosecute offenders even in the absence of any link between the crime committed and the prosecuting state, is one means of facilitating and securing the repression of such crimes. The rationale of universal jurisdiction is to avoid impunity and to prevent those who committed serious crimes from finding a safe haven in third countries.