Furthermore, such laws should apply only in countries that choose to uphold them.
Sarah Liyana Yazid (Miss)
[This letter is just Sarah's way of propounding her understanding of moral relativism. It provides an incorrect example of "international law" and proposes an irrelevant and impractical solution to a problem she doesn't quite understand.]
Oct 14, 2010
Why it's relevant
MR JONATHAN Eyal thinks that universal jurisdiction is a flimsy excuse for 'self-appointed busybodies' to embarrass governments ('The absurdity of universal jurisdiction'; last Friday).
They do this, he argues, by filing frivolous lawsuits against heads of state and top government officials, accusing them of human rights abuses.
[Actually, the embarassment is to the host government, not the "criminal" heads of state/government. The embarassment then makes the legal process an absurdity.]
[Corrupt governments are propped up by many things, usually the exploited natural resources of their country. Private investments are drawn to such resources, and are forced to deal with corrupt governments in order to access the scarce resources. Some of the worst places in the world are cursed by rare and valuable natural resources like gold, diamonds, and oil.]
[Raising an ineffectual legal gambit with embarrassing consequences, and zero effect is an option?]
Eyal is not quite right. Those who pursue such legal avenues are not necessarily busy bodies. They may well be empowered victims seeking justice. But they are misinformed and misguided idealists to think that this legal myth can secure them justice.]
Oct 8, 2010
The absurdity of universal jurisdiction
It allows rights activists in Europe to make a travesty of international law
By Jonathan Eyal, Europe Correspondent
INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's decision to postpone a scheduled visit to the Netherlands earlier this week because of a criminal charge against him in a Dutch court has taken legal experts by surprise.
The doctrine of universal jurisdiction claims that certain crimes can be prosecuted in any country regardless of where the crimes were committed or the alleged criminal's nationality. This doctrine clearly strains established norms. But, as some lawyers and human rights groups claim, people accused of genocide, mass murder or torture should never escape justice.
Belgium was one of the first nations to grant its courts universal jurisdiction over war crimes, back in 1993. But instead of justice, judicial chaos was Belgium's sole reward.
The British authorities had no choice but to act on the arrest warrant. General Pinochet was ultimately released, but not before a serious legal precedent was established.
Meanwhile, Moluccan independence activists have filed at least seven different lawsuits against top Indonesian officials before the Dutch courts.