Universal Jurisdiction and why Palestine needs it

Palestine Flags in Ramallah

Okay,  let’s get thing started.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza has just published an 184-page long report on the “Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction: PCHR’s Work in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Yep, that’s right:  Universal Jurisdiction. I know what you thinking- this is going to be long and complicated. Also, what’s this all got to do with Palestine.

Well, I’ll keep this brief.

Universal Jurisdiction is basically the legal principle that a very serious crime affects the entire international community (not just that of the country where the crime happened) and so national courts have the right to investigate and prosecute those involved.

The Palestinian Centre (PCHR) has been trying to apply this principle to Israeli war crimes since 2002 with some victories such as the arrest warrant for the former Israeli Chief of Staff.

PCHR state that;

universal jurisdiction is the only available legal mechanism capable of ensuring Palestinian victims right to an effective judicial remedy. In the broader context, universal jurisdiction is also an essential tool in the fight against impunity…

Universal jurisdiction is presented as stepping stone on the road to universal justice, whereby the protections of international law may be extended to all individuals without discrimination.”

You can find the short version of the main points of the report here.

I have also written about Universal Jurisdication and why its important in this report for Friends of Al-Aqsa (skip to page 48!).

Arwa Aburawa


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