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Curbing the Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction

Curbing the Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction



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lawfare -- “a strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional
military means to achieve military objectives."
lawfare -- “a strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional
military means to achieve military objectives."

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Published by: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Jan 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Jerusalem Center or Public Afairs
)ר"ע( הנידמו רוביצ יניינעל ימלשוריה זכרמה
Curbing the Manipulation ofUniversal Jurisdiction
Diane Morrison and Justus Reid Weiner
© 2010 Jerusalem Center or Public Afairs
13 el Hai Street, Jerusalem, Israelel. 972-2-561-9281 Fax. 972-2-561-9112Email: jcpa@netvision.net.ilwww.jcpa.org | www.globallaworum.org
ISBN 978-965-218-081-0
Production Director: Edna Weinstock-GabayGraphic Design: Rami & Jacky Studio (www.ramijaki.co.il)
In the past decade Israeli ocials have been bombarded by both criminal and civillawsuits or their political activities in the Israeli government and/or their militaryactivities in the Israel Deense Forces. Examples o this are the criminal complaints thatwere led in Belgium in 2001 against ormer Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and in theUnited Kingdom in August 2005 against Major General (res.) Doron Almog, as well asthe arrest warrant that was issued in New Zealand in 2006 against ormer Chie o Sta Moshe Ya’alon. Te most recent instance was the arrest warrant issued in the UnitedKingdom against Israeli opposition leader zipi Livni or alleged war crimes committedduring Israel’s Gaza Operation when she was Israel’s oreign minister. Similar civilsuits have also been launched in the U.S. against, or example, Avi Dichter, the ormerDirector o the Israel Security Agency.Israel’s supporters have pointed to these legal acrobatics as a clear abuse o the principleo universal jurisdiction, a new tool in the toolbox o Israel’s detractors and critics. Advocates o the Jewish state have coined the term “laware” to describe this situation.Tey dene laware as “a strategy o using or misusing law as a substitute or traditionalmilitary means to achieve military objectives.
 While sounding ar-etched to the neutral observer and hysterical to those wary o claims o international anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel sentiment, warnings o thepossible abuse o the principle o universal jurisdiction pre-date these Israeli claims.For instance, in an article published in
Foreign Aairs
in 2001 entitled “Te Pitallso Universal Jurisdiction: Risking Judicial yranny,” ormer U.S. Secretary o Stateand Nobel Laureate Henry Kissinger commended advocates o universal jurisdictionor their commitment to bringing to justice human rights violators, but warned o “pushing the eort to extremes” and risking “substituting the tyranny o judges orthat o governments.”
In the early 1960s, Israel was one of the first statesto invoke the principle of universal jurisdiction in its groundbreaking trial against Adolf Eichmann, the“architect of the Holocaust.” 
Indeed, even the judges o the International Court o Justice (the ICJ), which is noriend o the State o Israel, warned against the possible abuse o the principle o universal jurisdiction in the
case in 2002,
stating: “I, as we believe to be thecase, a State may choose to exercise a universal criminal jurisdiction
in absentia
, itmust also ensure that certain saeguards are in place. Tey are absolutely essential toprevent abuse and to ensure that the rejection o impunity does not jeopardize stablerelations between States.”

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