The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment

ISBN : 9780199603404

Alejandro Chehtman
208 Pages
167 x 241 mm
Pub date
Dec 2010
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Why should a Spanish court take jurisdiction over an American lawyer accused of facilitating torture on Guantanamo Bay? What empowers a London magistrate to sign an arrest warrant for a former Chilean President? Can it be legitimate or morally defensible for an Israeli court to try a former Nazi whose crimes occurred outside Israel and indeed prior to the establishment of Israel? This book provides the first full account, explanation, and critique of extraterritorial punishment in international law. Extraterritoriality is deeply entrenched in the practice of legal punishment in domestic legal systems and, in certain circumstances, an established principle of public international law. Often, States claim the right to punish certain offences provided for under their own domestic laws even when they are committed outside their territorial boundaries. Furthermore, extraterritoriality is one of the most remarkable features of international criminal law. Many individuals have been prosecuted in different parts of the world for crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, etc. before tribunals which are often located outside the territorial boundaries of the state in which the offences were perpetrated. Finally, the issue of extraterritorial punishment is of pressing importance because of the emergence of new forms of globalized crime, such as transnational terrorism, drug-trafficking, trafficking of human beings, and so on. This book provides a convincing normative account of extraterritorial punishment. In doing so, it will steer current debates on international criminal justice and the philosophy of punishment in new directions, and link these debates to globalization, the emergence of transnational crime, terrorism, war, and the problem of impunity and mass atrocity.


1. Rights, Individuals, and States
2. An Interest-based Justification for the Right to Punish
3. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction over Municipal Crimes
4. A Theory of International Crimes
5. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction over International Crimes
6. Legitimate Authority and Extraterritorial Punishment
7. Conclusion

About the author: 

Alejandro Chehtman holds a BA from the University of Buenos Aires and an MSc in Political Theory from the LSE. In 2009, he was awarded his PhD in Law from the LSE for his thesis 'The Morality of Extraterritorial Punishment'. He joined the Faculty of Law at UCL in September 2008 as Research Associate for the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals. At UCL he works on the DOMAC Project, on the impact of international criminal tribunals on domestic prosecutions in mass atrocity cases. He has published articles in Law and Philosophy and the New Criminal Law Review. Alejandro has worked as a legal clerk at the Criminal Appeals Chamber for Justice Martin Irurzun, and at the Public Defender Office in Argentina. He entered the Bar in Buenos Aires in 2006 and he is a member of the Research Panel at Matrix Chambers, London, since 2007.

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