Remarks at a Sixth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 85: The Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction

Emily Pierce
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 10, 2017


Thank you, Mr. 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, the United States reiterates its view that basic questions remain about how jurisdiction should be exercised in relation to universal crimes and states’ views and practices related to the topic.

We have engaged in lengthy, thoughtful discussions on a variety of important topics regarding universal jurisdiction, including its definition, the scope of the principle, as well as its application, in the years since the Committee took up this issue. The submissions made by states to date, the work of the Working Group in this Committee, and the Secretary-General’s reports have been extremely useful in helping us to identify differences of opinion among States as well as points of consensus on this issue. In the Working Group, we are looking forward to hearing the views of other delegations on the possibilities for further progress on this issue, including whether there are new, practical approaches to tackling our work.

The United States continues to analyze the contributions of other states and organizations. We welcome this Committee’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.