- 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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