Asia’s Reticence Towards Universal Jurisdiction
AbstractUniversal jurisdiction is often heralded as an essential tool in the global fight against impunity. For a principle that contains the word “universal” in its name, it is striking though, perhaps unsurprising to discover that only two Asian states have ever exercised it. This paper goes on to provide some context for the Asian experience, positing a few indigenous explanations for Asia’s ambivalence towards this fundamental principle of international criminal law. It will be shown that unlike other areas of international law, Asia cannot hide behind the usual excuse of “refusing to play by Western rules”. The paper concludes by arguing that Asia should take up the unique opportunity it has to shape the future of international criminal law.
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