Delegate Name: Ema Bekic
The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
Republic of Cuba
Ema Bekic, Forest Hills Northern High School
The Republic of Cuba recognizes the importance of Universal Jurisdiction as a combatant against impunity and agrees with the statement that some crimes are so heinous that they transcend all borders. Universal Jurisdiction, based on the idea that perpetrators of said heinous crimes are Hostis humani generis (Enemies of humankind) and therefore open to accountability from any nation, regardless of where the crime was committed or the perpetrator’s nationality, is crucial to International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Nevertheless, the Republic is concerned over this principle’s possible misuse and exploitation. In particular, concerns have been raised over Universal Jurisdiction being used in a unilateral, selective, and politically-motivated manner by developed nations against legal persons of developing countries. Universal Jurisdiction plays an integral role in humanity’s well-being but must be definitive to prevent manipulation.
The order of the Rome Statute and its establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a leap for humankind towards fair criminal justice. The ICC represents a crucial aspect of the objectiveness of international prosecution. Furthermore, the United Nations began the foundation of the International Law Commission Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, which could’ve been the start of a more selective and objective assessment of Universal Jurisdiction. However, this failed due to various factors, which, if addressed, could introduce an impactful solution for all. Firstly, the 1991 draft was deemed too political, with jargon such as “mercenarism,” “colonialism,” and “crimes against the environment.” This terminology only deepened the view of Universal Jurisdiction as politically motivated. Secondly, the rejection of the draft by more prominent and more developed countries, who held an aversion to international criminal justice institutions to which its officials could be subjected, had a pivotal role in the failure of the Code.
Keeping in mind the principles of self-sovereignty and justice, Cuba proposes a new draft code built off of objective fundamentals, establishes the ICC as the final arbiter of international criminal cases, and holds all signatories accountable for the operation of said code in their nation. Moreover, any definite motive, political or otherwise, discovered during a trial should allow the case to be transferred to the ICC in order to adhere to the right of a free trial. Universal Jurisdiction is the foundation of this proposed code, integrating the commitment to justice and fairness, ensuring that no act of impunity can evade the pursuit of truth and impartiality.