September 16, 2019
 In 2023-The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction

Country: India
Delegate Name: Isabella Feenstra

Legal Committee
The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
The Republic of India
Isabella Feenstra
Forest Hills Eastern

Under international law, universal jurisdiction permits any country – within the bounds of claiming a solid connection to the offender – to persecute an individual who committed a crime against humanity: genocide, war crimes, or accounts of torture. These privileges extend to trying a criminal whose crime occurred on foreign ground; it is an attempt to ensure the pursuit of justice by transcending borders. However, most laws regarding the extent of states’ rights to universal jurisdiction are uncertain. Israel in 1961 provides a prevalent example of exercising such liberties with the persecution of a high-ranking Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, on the basis of the Holocaust. Currently, the ambiguities between universal jurisdiction’s capacity and states’ rights to handle domestic affairs leave alarming disparities in its application worldwide.

India recognizes the dire threat of inconsistent legislature pertaining to legal outlines establishing measures for persecuting individuals under universal jurisdiction. Without the basis for trials, India fears that heinous criminals will elude persecution indefinitely, which would greatly hinder the pursuit of justice on behalf of victims. Of 194 states, India was the fifth to ratify the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which included guidelines on implementing universal jurisdiction. This agreement encourages the obligatory duties of member states to either search and try an accused individual found in their territory or extradite said offender to another country to be tried under their courts. Nevertheless, India acknowledges that the enforceability of universal jurisdiction must be applied to a limited and precise scope of crimes. We accept the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention, but we do not support the misuse or abuse of universal jurisdiction with mislabeling. The treaties established between states to persecute individuals for crimes against humanity cannot apply globally, as various countries did not consent to these terms. For similar reasons, India abstained from signing the Rome Statutes and the International Criminal Court (ICC). We wished to keep defensive mechanisms, check the power given to the United Nations Security Council, and maintain autonomy over the occurrences within Indian territory and of Indian citizens.

India emphasizes the necessity of managing the applications of universal jurisdiction to prevent the misuse and overuse of such powers. A new intricate definition of what specific crimes fall under universal jurisdiction and the scope one state can wield their rights to try the accused must be attained. India appeals to the global community to continue implementing universal jurisdiction to safeguard humanity while preserving the autonomy and sovereignty of each member state in order to protect their people best.

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