Universal Jurisdiction: Controversies and Opportunities

Universal Jurisdiction is the doctrine that some offenses (such as atrocity crimes: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity) are so heinous that they can be prosecuted by any country's domestic judicial system, even if the offenses were not committed on that country's territory, by one of its nationals, or against one of its nationals.

Given the dearth of options to prosecute atrocity crimes and the willingness of some domestic judicial systems to try cases with no nexus to their country's territory, Universal Jurisdiction has recently become a more popular and accepted mechanism for seeking justice for international crimes. This webinar will explore the history and controversies of Universal Jurisdiction and consider opportunities for contemporary case studies (including Russia-Ukraine and Syria).


  • Balkees Jarrah, Interim Director, International Justice, Human Rights Watch
  • Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
  • Zachary D. Kaufman, Associate Professor of Law and Political Science and Co-Director, Criminal Justice Institute, University of Houston Law Center