17 May 2009

Curiously Selective Universal Jurisdiction

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Ethan Leib notes that Spain just began a judicial investigation into an Israeli strike on a Hamas leader in Gaza in 2002. Meanwhile, the same Spain released a group of Somali pirates, declining prosecution because the offenses took place “2,000 kilometers away.”

It seems curious that the Spanish view of universal jurisdiction applies to Israel, the late General Pinochet, and officials of the Bush administration, but not to pirates, Especially considering the fact that the whole idea of extra-territorial jurisdiction arose in the first place to justify suppressing piracy.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

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