Universal Jurisdiction Law and Legal Definition

Universal jurisdiction is a theory used in in ternational law. It refers to the ability of a court to decide a criminal matter even though it may not be within its borders, based upon the concept that the crime is one against humanity as a whole. Therefore, the prosecution is brought on behalf of the world, rather than the people of a particular state or nation. Universal jurisdiction is based upon the idea of jus cogens – that certain international law obligations are binding on all states and can't be altered by treaty.