Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of National Courts and Human Rights Enforcement: Quo vadis justitia?

In: International Community Law Review
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  • 1 Human Rights Department, Faculty of Law and Administration, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland

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The article constitutes an argument in the debate over the legitimacy of exercising domestic jurisdiction over extraterritorial human rights violations. It seeks to answer a question of the current and future role of national courts in enforcing human rights with respect to extraterritorial violations. The article thus presents and analyses examples of judicial practice from different jurisdictions (United States, Europe and Canada). It also discusses the interrelation between adjudicatory jurisdiction and sovereignty. The survey of the recent case-law proves that in many countries there is a tendency of limiting extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction. The article concludes i.e. that perhaps the time has come to substitute a doctrine of forum non conveniens with the principle of forum necessitatits.

  • 19

    See for more elaborated analysis Shelton, supra note 14, pp. 14–36.

  • 35

    Ryngaert, supra note 26, p. 7.

  • 39

    See generally Shearer, supra note 27 pp. 166–171; Dixon, McCorquodale and Williams, supra note 36, p. 276 et seq.

  • 40

    Staker, supra note 34, p. 315.

  • 45

    See Keitner, supra note 4, p. 809 (where the author is giving examples of us executive directing the courts with respect to personal immunities from civil proceedings).

  • 47

    Scott, supra note 24, p. 54.

  • 50

    Staker, supra note 34, pp. 323–324. The most recent example would probably be the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs (ects No. 216) opened for signature on 25.03.2015, Article 10 § 6.

  • 52

    Fox, supra note 28, p. 175.

  • 54

    Shaw, supra note 27, p. 668.

  • 55

    Tomuschat, supra note 15, pp. 330–335.

  • 56

    Shaw, supra note 27, pp. 668–670.

  • 57

    Tomuschat, supra note 15, p. 331.

  • 63

    Since 2003, there are four instances when Belgian courts may hear cases of human rights abuses that occurred outside Belgium: 1) if the requisite tie to Belgium is present; 2) if other States with a link to the crime do not have an independent system of justice; 3) the accused is not a governmental official protected by immunity, 4) if Belgium has an obligation under treaty or customary law to submit cases to its authorities for proceedings. See ibid. pp. 293–294.

  • 68

    Since 2011, a consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions is required before an arrest warrant is issued.

  • 74

    Tomuschat, supra note 15, p. 335.

  • 79

    Tomuschat, supra note 15, p. 374. It is noteworthy that Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction of 2001 explicitly refer only to universal jurisdiction as a criminal one. See differently, Donald F. Donovan, Anthea Roberts, “The Emerging Recognition of Universal Civil Jurisdiction”, 100 American Journal of International Law (2006) p. 142.

  • 87

    Tomuschat, supra note 15, p. 358.

  • 89

    Scott, supra note 24, p. 53.

  • 94

    As observed by Stephens, supra note 43, p. 1468.

  • 100

    Lee, supra note 93, p. 1647; Stephens, supra note 43, p. 1479.

  • 101

    Cited after Stephens, supra note 43, p. 1479.

  • 104

    Cited in Swan, supra note 82, p. 82.

  • 109

    Swan, supra note 82, pp. 94–95.

  • 110

    Flauss, supra note 5, pp. 405–406.

  • 115

    130 S. Ct. 2869 (2010). A group of Australian investors (plaintiffs) claimed that the defendants had arranged fraud against them. The only connection with the us was the fact that the main defendant company had a branch on Florida.

  • 117

    Kiobel, supra note 44, § 189.

  • 121

    Shearer, supra note 27, p. 162.

  • 122

    Ryngaert, supra note 26, p. 71.

  • 124

    Kiobel, supra note 44, § 1669.

  • 128

    Ramsey, supra note 114, p. 67.

  • 129

    Lee, supra note 9, p. 1648.

  • 130

    Stephens, supra note 43, p. 1543.

  • 132

    Lee, supra note 93, p. 1664.

  • 138

    American Society of International Law, supra note 134, p. iii E-27.

  • 139

    Fox, supra note 28, p. 178. According to the Author, common law courts have many separate and independent broadly based jurisdictions, and – as a consequence – enjoy some extent of discretionary power.

  • 150

    Jägers, Jesse and Verschuuren, supra note 146, pp. 38–39.

  • 154

    Dixon, McCorquodale and Williams, supra note 36, pp. 797–800.

  • 163

    American Society of International Law, supra note 134, p. iii.e-22–23.

  • 164

    No 11–965, (2014). The us Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Daimler ag v. Bauman, available <http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/11-965_1qm2.pdf>.

  • 165

    Flauss, supra note 5, pp. 397–399.

  • 167

    Ibid., p. 84.

  • 170

    Ryngaert, supra note 26, p. 195.

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