Country: United arab Emirates
Delegate Name: Sara Gupta
The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
United Arab Emirates
Sara Gupta, Forest Hills Northern High School
Universal Jurisdiction requires maintaining the precarious balance between state sovereignty and global justice. As an integral aspect of international law, universal jurisdiction allows any country to prosecute perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes, regardless of the location of the crime committed or its nationality. Examples of heinous crimes include crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and torture. The principle of universal jurisdiction has been used to try a senior Nazi official in Israel and extradite former Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet to Spain by the United Kingdom House of Lords.
The United Arab Emirates’s legal system is constitutionally based on the UAE Civil Code (Federal Law No. (5) of 1985 Concerning the Civil Code) and Sharia principles. The UAE understands the importance of and supports universal jurisdiction; however, it is concerned with the scope and abuse of universal jurisdiction as it may undermine state sovereignty.
On October 12, 2022, the UAE, along with other nations, spoke on the use of universal jurisdiction in the 77th session of the Sixth Committee. The UAE believes that the principle should be invoked in grave circumstances in which proceedings “fall outside the usual scope of national laws.” It is necessary to account for the differences between the legal systems. The principle is complementary to the jurisdiction of the states where the crime is committed and does not enable the undermining of state sovereignty. Universal Jurisdiction must not be used against countries or heads of state and government arbitrarily or politically. The United Arab Emirates acknowledges the importance of the principle of universal jurisdiction and seeks to work with other nations to establish its uses while not restricting the legal systems of other countries.