Statement by Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, Senior Advisor, United States Mission to the United Nations at a General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal) Session,The Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
Senior Advisor 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 17, 2013

Thank you, Mister Chairman.

We greatly appreciate the Sixth Committee’s continued interest in this important item. We thank the Secretary-General for his reports, which have usefully summarized the submissions made by States on this topic.

Despite the importance of this issue and its long history as part of international law relating to piracy, basic questions remain about how jurisdiction should be exercised in relation to universal crimes and States’ views and practices related to the topic. The submissions made by States to date, the work of the Working Group in this Committee, and the Secretary-General’s reports on the issue are extremely useful in helping us to identify differences of opinion among States as well as points of consensus on this issue.

We encourage this Committee to continue its work, and we suggest that there is a need especially to explore the practical application of universal jurisdiction, such as whether or how often it is invoked, whether alternative bases of jurisdiction are relied upon at the same time, and what safeguards are available to prevent inappropriate prosecutions.

The United States continues to analyze the contributions of other states and organizations. We welcome this group’s continued consideration of this issue and the input of more states about their own practice. We look forward to exploring these issues in as practical a manner as possible.

Thank you, Mister Chairman.

PRN: 2013/214