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80 Foreign Aff. 86 (2001)
Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction, The

handle is hein.journals/fora80 and id is 692 raw text is: The Pitfalls of
Universal Jurisdiction
Henry A. Kissinger
IN LESS THAN a decade, an unprecedented movement has emerged
to submit international politics to judicial procedures. It has spread
with extraordinary speed and has not been subjected to systematic
debate, partly because of the intimidating passion of its advocates. To
be sure, human rights violations, war crimes, genocide, and torture
have so disgraced the modern age and in such a variety of places that
the effort to interpose legal norms to prevent or punish such outrages
does credit to its advocates. The danger lies in pushing the effort to
extremes that risk substituting the tyranny of judges for that of
governments; historically, the dictatorship of the virtuous has often
led to inquisitions and even witch-hunts.
The doctrine of universal jurisdiction asserts that some crimes are
so heinous that their perpetrators should not escape justice by invoking
doctrines of sovereign immunity or the sacrosanct nature of national
frontiers. Two specific approaches to achieve this goal have emerged
recently. The first seeks to apply the procedures of domestic criminal
justice to violations of universal standards, some of which are embodied
in United Nations conventions, by authorizing national prosecutors
to bring offenders into their jurisdictions through extradition from
third countries. The second approach is the International Criminal
HENRY A. KISSINGER, Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., is a
former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. This essay is
adapted from his latest book, Does America Need a Foreign Policy? Toward
a Diplomacy for the 21st Century.


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