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263.8 sec. 1 - Universal Jurisdiction (Fall 2011)
Instructor: Helene Silverberg (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Meeting Time: W 3:35-5:25
Meeting Location: 129
Course Start: August 24, 2011
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49793
Universal jurisdiction is the principle that certain crimes (including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture) are so universally abhorred that a state is entitled or even obligated to initiate legal proceedings without regard to where the crime was committed or the nationality of the victims or perpetrators. But when, if ever, should national courts permit actions based on this principle? This interdisciplinary course explores the conceptual, legal, institutional and political implications of relying upon universal jurisdiction to enforce international human rights in national courts. The course considers the experience of the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain in exercising jurisdiction over human rights violations on this basis, and will examine (among others) the Pinochet case, the Habre case, the Yerodia case, the European cases against Donald Rumsfeld and the cases in the United States against Generals Vides Casanova and Garcia.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.