Accountability in Extraterritoriality: A Comparative and International Law Perspective

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Book Review

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Prescriptive Jurisdiction, International Law Doctrine, State Practice, Customary International Law Rules


For some international lawyers, among whom this reviewer can be counted, the rules regarding the exercise of jurisdiction are at the heart of public international law. By jurisdiction, I mean the term in its international law sense — that is, that body of rules that governs when, how, and where states may exercise their sovereign power. While jurisdiction is a tiger of many stripes, one of the primary crucibles for state practice and norm generation in the area has been the exercise of criminal jurisdiction by states over individuals, which is typically acknowledged as the source of the foundational rules. In particular, the principles of jurisdiction that regulate the extraterritorial exercise of jurisdiction by states have been historically an interesting flashpoint, involving the fractious combination of state chauvinism around domestic criminal laws, on the one hand, and state interest in regulating criminal matters beyond their borders, on the other.