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

Country: France
Delegate Name: Harini Manikandan

Legal Committee
The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
French Republic
Harini Manikandan
City High Middle
Universal jurisdiction is a legal principle that allows nations or other international organizations to have the right to judge specific cases regardless of where the crime happened. These crimes are severe enough that they are considered crimes against humanity; major categories include war crimes, genocide, and torture. Universal jurisdiction was brought into play after the horrific events of World War II. This law is also a key aspect of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 which states that all nations must and may charge criminals who break international humanitarian law regardless of where or who committed it. This system is direly important because it provides justice to victims of international crime. For example, a Chilean dictator was brought to justice in Spain using universal jurisdiction which shows that universal jurisdiction doesn’t have a bias towards power and wealth. This principle also prevents people from falling into “impunity” and getting the correct sentence. While many nations across the world support Universal Jurisdiction, this system would not be possible without many organizations that support us like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Open Society Justice Initiative. In 2021, the Sixth Committee of the United Nations talked about the balance between state sovereignty and universal jurisdiction and other details of the principle of universal jurisdiction. We are a big partaker in the topic of Universal Jurisdiction; our own Code of Criminal Procedure permits the prosecution of all cases involving genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. France believes that the advancement and protection of universal jurisdiction is necessary to keep a “safety net” in matters of crimes.

France has worked hard on using the principle of universal jurisdiction to the best of its ability. The current policy is in our French Criminal Code of Procedure, and article 689-11 allows universal jurisdiction over crimes regardless of crime location. According to Amnesty International, it does not matter where the crime happened, where the suspect is, or even when it happened. Although we don’t face any severe issues with Universal Jurisdiction, they will advocate for it internationally. France has also judged many famous universal jurisdiction cases. Nationally, we have judged many cases about Syrian war crimes. Although the Syrians argued that war crimes aren’t a part of Syrian law, universal jurisdiction was able to rightfully convict them. We have also handled numerous cases about the Rwandan genocide. Mentioned before, France’s support of this principle stems from our longstanding commitment to human rights. We want to set an example, not to teach others a lesson but because it’s our history, our message. Setting an example in promoting fundamental freedoms is our battle and a matter of honor for us. Human rights are a major part of the French Republic as they fill their Constitution, and it is focused whenever they enforce democracy, participate in unions, and lead internationally. We advocated for universal jurisdiction in the 2009 General Assembly where France stated, “Universal jurisdiction is an essential instrument in the fight against impunity”. Therefore, France is an excellent example of how universal jurisdiction is not meant to take power from states. It is a “safety net” set to find the people who in many cases don’t get convicted for their crimes against humanity. Universal jurisdiction protects human rights, ensures that everyone can have justice, and prevents history from repeating, and France will always be in firm support and encourage others to accept these ideals.

The French Republic urges the United Nations to define the details of the principle of universal jurisdiction addressing confounding areas such as state versus universal judgment, which countries should give judgements, and what crimes will be considered to be of universal judgment importance. France recommends holding a meeting with all nations invited to discuss and clarify the principle. This helps clear doubts about the rules, but also it promotes equality between nations. These changes proposed by France to the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction will help create standardness throughout its laws, protect people from impunity, balance state sovereignty, and it will show everyone the importance of human rights for all.