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Part III The Right to Justice, B Distribution of Jurisdiction between National, Foreign, International, and Internationalized Courts, Principle 20 Jurisdiction of International and Internationalized Criminal Tribunals

William A Schabas

From: The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Right to truth — Immunity from jurisdiction — Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

Principle 20 is concerned with the jurisdiction of international and internationalized criminal tribunals regarding the prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities. The word ‘impunity’, defined at the beginning of the United Nations Updated Set of Principles, implies punishment or some similar sanction. It inexorably directs us towards judicial activity of criminal courts or the lack of it. The first sentence of Principle 20 is addressed to the national justice system, while the second sentence focuses on the international and internationalized criminal tribunals and their relationship to national courts. The final sentence of Principle 20 requires States to ‘fully satisfy their legal obligations’ with respect to international and internationalized criminal tribunals. This chapter first provides a contextual and historical background on Principle 20 before discussing its theoretical framework and how it has been observed in practice.

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