Universal Jurisdiction

Combating impunity for the most serious crimes also takes the form of recourse to national courts in other countries through universal or extraterritorial jurisdiction.

This represents the last resort for victims when the courts in the countries where the crimes have been committed are ineffective and international courts do not have jurisdiction.

When applying universal jurisdiction, a State puts on trial perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed in another country, in particular when these individuals are located in the territory of the State in question.

FIDH works to ensure that States adopt laws to enable them to effectively prosecute crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and forced disappearance, whatever the territory in which the crimes were committed, and to effectively exercise this jurisdiction.

Equally, FIDH encourages the development of joint national policies and strategies and the creation and consolidation of centres of expertise within States. It also takes part in meetings of the European Network of Contact Points concerning individuals responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

FIDH represents numerous victims in extraterritorial jurisdiction proceedings regarding crimes committed in, for example, Syria, Libya, Algeria and the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), and has secured the conviction of those guilty of torture in Mauritania and Tunisia.