Human Rights Norms And The Prohibition Of Torture

2531 Words Oct 30th, 2016 11 Pages
Question 1
(i) Do States have universal jurisdiction to prosecute offenders?

Human rights norms – and the prohibition of torture in particular - belong to the category of jus cogens. That status means that they are peremptory norms so ´its derogation is not permitted and can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character’ (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, art. 53).

When a violation of any of these peremptory norms occurs, States should have jurisdiction to prosecute and punish offenders in its territory even where the violations have been committed outside its territory and there are no other connecting factors . This is further explained in Prosceutor v. Anto Furundzija (ICTY 1998) where was demonstrated that one of the consequences of the jus cogens character is that every State has the right to prosecute and punish the authors of crimes of torture present in a territory under its jurisdiction . Therefore, the question raised seems to lead us to a positive answer as States have universal jurisdiction to prosecute any person who contravenes that prohibition.

The Prosecutor case also exhibits three relevant features of the prohibition of torture which are in common to the other principles that protects fundamental human rights:

The first feature is the obligation to the States not only to prohibit and punish torture but also to pre-empt its perpetration. A State is in violation of its obligations whenever…
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