International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Unilateral Jurisdiction

In one of our past lectures we learned about the idea of Universal Jurisdiction, or the authority of a governing body to take legal action against those whose alleged crimes may not have taken place within their jurisdiction.  Critics of the idea argue that it violates individual states sovereignty, and that any state could possibly construct universal jurisdiction tribunals.  The linked article discusses a Spanish judge named Baltasar Garzon, who was known for exercising universal jurisdiction from his home country.  While article primarily covers his recent personal legal problems, Garzon was made famous by calling for an investigation into the Bush Administration’s actions over Guantanamo Bay.

While an investigation never gained any traction, the idea of universal jurisdiction and the legality of Garzon’s action was in question.  Was their any legal basis for his actions, and if he did issue warrants, was anyone going to take them seriously?


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