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When Governments Break the LawThe Rule of Law and the Prosecution of the Bush Administration$
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Austin Sarat and Nasser Hussain

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741399

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741399.001.0001

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Universal Jurisdiction as Praxis

Universal Jurisdiction as Praxis

An Option to Pursue Legal Accountability for Superpower Torturers

Chapter:
(p.87) 3 Universal Jurisdiction as Praxis
Source:
When Governments Break the Law
Author(s):

Lisa Hajjar

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814741399.003.0004

This chapter explores universal jurisdiction (UJ) as an avenue for prosecuting Bush administration officials. It begins with an overview of the nineteenth-century origins of the doctrine of UJ and its relationship to emergent norms of universal humanity and humane treatment. It then considers the right not to be tortured and how the practice of torture, a gross crime under international law, is linked to UJ and goes on to discuss the current state of investigations in Europe of alleged U.S. torturers. It also examines the politics of legal accountability, with particular emphasis on the political implications of either prosecuting or not prosecuting the authors of the United States' torture policy at home as well as the international ramifications if there is de facto impunity domestically as a result of no criminal prosecutions. The chapter concludes by stressing the superiority of UJ over either domestic or international jurisdiction as a basis for prosecutions of torture.

Keywords:   universal jurisdiction, Bush administration, universal humanity, humane treatment, torture, legal accountability, impunity, criminal prosecution, United States

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