By Jim Fair

The Holy See on November 3, 2020, urged the United Nations to observe clear and just rules in the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accused’s nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity.

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations made the appeal during the Seventy-Fifth Session of the UN General Assembly, Sixth Committee Agenda Item 87 on “The Scope And Application Of The Principle Of Universal Jurisdiction” at the United Nations, New York, November 3, 2020.

“The Holy See believes that the only way forward consists of delineating clear rules for the exercise of this jurisdiction, based on just process, subsidiarity, and respect for the jurisdictional privileges of States,” the archbishop said. “The application of universal jurisdiction should be limited to crimes of the gravest concern — genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. As an international norm, impunity for these crimes should be unacceptable, and no safe haven should be given for those who perpetrate them. ”

Following are the archbishop’s full remarks:

Copyright © 2020 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

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