UN Security Council Members to Reach a Consensus on International Jurisdiction

 BY TIA TUIBURELEVU – THE NEW YORK TIMES 2

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Delegates from France, Russia, Portugal and Uruguay discuss a working paper on international jurisdiction.

BOSTON – Four United Nations Security Council Members, including the United States, France, China and Russia, are hoping to reach a consensus on how to define the scope of international jurisdiction.

In order to protect state sovereignty, the United States delegation wants to limit universal jurisdiction to “morally repugnant crimes recognized universally”, which include genocide, rape, murder and those defined by the Rome Statute and used in the Nuremberg Trials in World War II.  

China, for its own reasons, also supports stringent limit on the definition on “higher crimes.”

In order to maintain its high levels of control over state affairs and to avoid justifying further international criticism, China is pushing for a 2/3 majority threshold for any other human rights atrocities to be included as a “morally repugnant crime.”  In particular, this high threshold must be met for terrorism, slavery, and torture to be recognized.

In a rather unprecedented move within the General Assembly and UNSC, the Permanent members seem to be working together to reach consensus on a working paper and potentially a final resolution.

France is working alongside its European neighbors to advocate for similar views to the U.S. in an opposition working paper with Portugal, Germany and Luxembourg.

Russia is proposing its controversial working paper that gives the UNSC power to review cases before being brought to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. This is likely to be supported by the United States and Russia as it allows use of their veto power.

In the afternoon’s moderated caucus, these suggestions faced intense criticism from smaller nations states.

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