Flavia Zorzi Giustiniani

Universal Criminal Jurisdiction and Immunity of State Organs: The Swiss Federal Court's Decision in the "Nezzar" Case

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Immunity; "jus cogens"; Universal Jurisdiction; Sovereignty; Crimes

On 25 July 2012 the Swiss Federal Criminal Court issued a landmark decision whereby it denied the existence of functional immunity for the former Algeria's defence minister Khaled Nezzar. The case originated from a denunciation by TRIAL and a complaint by two Algerian refugees residing in Switzerland. Nezzar is accused of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and acts of torture committed during the early years of the Algerian civil war. The Swiss Court's judgement,which is here critically analyzed, is a welcome effort to interpret international and national law in line with the need to guarantee the suppression of the most serious crimes.

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