Thursday, May 27, 2010

On universal jurisdiction

In a sign of how things will be under the new Con-Dem government, William Hague, the UK's new foreign minister has said it is unacceptable that Israeli officials can be threatened with arrest under 'universal jurisdiction'. This is where a complaint can be made in the UK against personnel who are not even British for war crimes that occurred anywhere in the world.

They can do this if they want, the UK is a dualist country, meaning that international agreements made by the government are only recognised by British courts if there is a statute enacted by Parliament that integrates the agreement into British law. If that does not exist, or if a later Parliament decides to repeal the Act, then it can remove it under what is known as the Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty. In that case international agreements are about as useful in a British court of law as a penis flavoured lollipop. Nice try in trying to arrest Israeli officials, but sadly this was never going to get far anyway.

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