We are delighted to welcome Professor Mari Takeuchi (Kobe University, Japan) as our next GCILS guest speaker. She will be presenting on the topic of Universality of Universal Jurisdiction in International Law.

Location: Halliday Room (325), 5-9 Professors’ Square

Time: 1PM, Wednesday 22nd November 2023

Registration: In-person attendance only. To attend, please register via Bookitbee



Universal jurisdiction (referred to as UJ) over international crimes is on the rise today. Every week, new cases of UJ are reported in various situations. However, States still disagree on how, when, and where UJ should be invoked. Indeed, State practices vary, ranging from almost complete inaction in Asia to ostensibly ‘excessive’ assertion of UJ, such as States including capital punishment as the maximum penalty for crimes subject to UJ in their domestic laws. This raises challenges to the universality of universal jurisdiction.

Predominant views may not provide a functional framework for a critical assessment of this UJ phenomenon, as they treat prohibition (international criminalisation) and its implementation/enforcement (the exercise of UJ) as two sides of the same coin, arguing that this entire package has been established as a right/entitlement under customary international law. In contrast, this paper observes that international criminalisation, conceived as a process of establishing individual responsibility directly under international law, exists independently from the enforcement mechanism. Based on this observation, it further argues that in the context of asserting UJ over international crimes, criminalisation occurs at the international level, while the realisation of that criminalisation as a form of UJ takes place at the domestic level. By situating the assertion of UJ at the intersection between international and domestic legal orders, this paper seeks to offer a framework that captures the reality and dynamism of the UJ phenomenon.

Mari Takeuchi is a Professor of International Law at Kobe University in Japan. Her research interests include jurisdiction of States, especially the issues of extraterritoriality in various fields of law (international criminal law, corruption, sanction law, data protection). She gained an LLB & LLM from Kyoto University and was awarded a PhD from the University of Glasgow. Before joining Kobe University, she was a Professor at Okayama University.


Featured Image: Wally Gobetz, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via flickr