Delegate Name: Reagan Overmyer
International law has recognized that in some instances, crimes can be so serious that the obligation to prosecute them goes beyond borders. This is called “Universal Jurisdiction” and applies to crimes in violation of international law. This includes war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and torture. Universal jurisdiction was built on the concept that certain perpetrators are “enemies of mankind” and any nation should have the authority to prosecute and hold perpetrators accountable for their heinous crimes, regardless of the perpetrators nationality, the victims nationality, or where the crime itself was committed.
Danish law currently provides for universal jurisdiction over crimes that, under international law, Denmark is obligated to prosecute. This includes torture under the Convention of Torture and in some circumstances, breaches of the Geneva Convention. However, the sole existence of universal jurisdiction doesn’t mean that the nation can act as an international enforcer of criminal law, there are many challenges that come with universal jurisdiction. One of these is the presence of the suspect; although it is not required by Section 8 (5) of the Danish Penal Code, the perpetrator must be there voluntarily for Danish authorities to have jurisdiction over the crime(s) that they are committed to prosecute by international law. If the suspect leaves Denmark then the case will be out of their hands. Extradition will only be requested if and when a suspect has been charged and flees the country.
The Kingdom of Denmark looks to collaborate with countries like Norway that have taken the step to investigate cases regarding universal jurisdiction, by utilizing a specialized unit to oversee it. Denmark recognizes that the actual practice of universal jurisdiction has fallen behind the actual law in books, and hopes to change that dramatically. Denmark wants to resolve the issues in clarity and agree on a resolution in hopes of maintaining justice globally.
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Universal Jurisdiction – CJA. cja.org/what-we-do/litigation/legal-strategy/universal-jurisdiction/.
“Universal Jurisdiction in Europe: The State of the Art: VII. Denmark.” Www.hrw.org, www.hrw.org/reports/2006/ij0606/7.htm. Accessed 20 Nov. 2023.
“Universal Jurisdiction: A Preliminary Survey of Legislation around the World – 2012 Update.” Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org/en/documents/IOR53/019/2012/en/.