UNITY REQUIRED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ABUSE OF UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION

A meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) in Cameroon early this week, condemned the abuse of the principle of Universal Jurisdiction or the Universality principle. The principle which has in the recent past been selectively and conveniently applied by municipal Judges in European countries against leaders in Africa has been rendered a tool of anarchy by the actions of Judges like Louis Bruguiere of France and Fernando Merrelles of Spain. The principle in the case of its application by the two judges against Rwandan leaders shows that it can be used to serve political purposes. The end result is a tyranny in the global justice system. What happens is that the principle in reality can only be applied by rich and powerful countries against leaders of poor countries that are seen as not being pushovers by those countries.

A meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) in Cameroon early this week, condemned the abuse of the principle of Universal Jurisdiction or the Universality principle.

The principle which has in the recent past been selectively and conveniently applied by municipal Judges in European countries against leaders in Africa has been rendered a tool of anarchy by the actions of Judges like Louis Bruguiere of France and Fernando Merrelles of Spain.

The principle in the case of its application by the two judges against Rwandan leaders shows that it can be used to serve political purposes. The end result is a tyranny in the global justice system.

What happens is that the principle in reality can only be applied by rich and powerful countries against leaders of poor countries that are seen as not being pushovers by those countries.

At the end of it all, it serves no purpose as far as justice is concerned. It simply becomes yet another tool of politics of domination and influence. By uniting against the abuse of this principle, African lawyers are in effect sending a clear message that they are not willing to be party to this judicial tyranny.

What is required is a mass movement of all who care about the proper application of international principles to push for measures that can put an end to the abuse of the principle, so that it can serve its true purpose and not be used as a tool of vindictive politics on the international stage.

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