Universal Jurisdiction

Serious human rights abuses such as torture can occur both during international armed conflicts and where repressive states act against their own citizens.  Such abuses may often constitute international crimes which can be prosecuted in third countries unconnected to the events.

Occasionally the suspect in a serious international crime will travel to England & Wales or even come to live, work or study here.  Should that happen, the UK government has an obligation under international law to investigate and if necessary to prosecute.

We have a unique expertise in advising victims of international crime under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the first additional Protocol of 1977, the UN Torture Convention and other relevant international instruments.  We identify potential remedies in this country (against the invariably complex background of international and UK law) and assess the strength of the evidence in a particular case.  We can help to place the evidence before the specialist police unit that investigates such crimes and/or before a judge to obtain an arrest warrant.

We have advised and taken action on a number of torture and war crimes allegations from countries around the world and obtained one well publicised arrest warrant, the first ever to be granted by a judge under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957.

We can assist clients to obtain arrests abroad where it possible to find local lawyers in countries where the law is in place to prosecute such international crimes – we have existing excellent local partners in places as diverse as Spain, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, New Zealand and South Africa.

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