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International Criminal Law

International Criminal Law (1st edn)

Douglas Guilfoyle
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date: 21 April 2024

2. Principles of State jurisdictionlocked

2. Principles of State jurisdictionlocked

  • Douglas GuilfoyleDouglas GuilfoyleAssociate Professor of Law, Monash University


This chapter discusses the basic principles of national jurisdiction to prosecute crimes. Despite the growth of international courts and tribunals, no international criminal court has jurisdiction over all international crimes wherever committed. Thus, in practice, international criminal law will largely rely on prosecutions conducted before national courts, making the extent of national criminal jurisdiction a topic of vital importance. The chapter begins by introducing the different forms of jurisdiction and some basic distinctions. It then provides an overview of the theory of national prescriptive jurisdiction based on ‘links’ or ‘nexus’ between the crime and the prescribing State; outlines the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction to prescribe’ and its controversies; and looks to treaty-based systems of ‘quasi-universal’ jurisdiction over international crimes.

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