Statement at the 75th UN General Assembly Sixth Committee on Agenda Item Number 87: Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction

Julian Simcock
Deputy Legal Adviser
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 3, 2020


Thank you, Chair.

We greatly appreciate the Sixth Committee’s continued interest in this important topic. 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’ view continues to be that basic questions remain regarding how jurisdiction should be exercised in relation to universal crimes, and States’ views and practices related to the topic.

In the years since the Committee took up this issue, we have engaged in thoughtful discussions on a number of important topics regarding universal jurisdiction, including with respect to its definition, scope, and application. The submissions made by States to date, the work of the Working Group in this Committee, and the Secretary-General’s reports have been valuable in helping us to identify differences of opinion among States as well as points of consensus on this issue. We remain interested in further exploring issues related to the practical application of universal jurisdiction.

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, Mr. Chairman.