Universal jurisdiction

Some serious offences can be prosecuted in this country regardless of where they were allegedly committed. We are the leading chambers practising in universal jurisdiction, with unparalleled experience and expertise in the area.

Only two cases have been brought under the principle of universal jurisdiction and barristers from Three Raymond Buildings were successfully instructed in both.

In R v Lama (2016) we were instructed to defend Colonel Kumar Lama, a serving Colonel in the Nepalese army who was prosecuted for offences of torture allegedly committed at the height of the Nepalese civil war in 2005. Colonel Lama was cleared of all charges and allowed to return to his battalion in Nepal.

In R v Zardad (2005) we were instructed by the prosecution in relation to the case brought against Zardad, a warlord who was accused of murder and torture in Afghanistan. Zardad was convicted.

In addition to the above cases, we were instructed for the prosecution in R v Sawoniuk (1999). This is the only case brought under the War Crimes Act 1991 which allowed alleged Nazi war criminals resident in the UK when the Act was brought into force to be prosecuted for alleged crimes in Nazi Germany and occupied territories. Sawoniuk was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Members of chambers also regularly provide advice to individuals, governments and other groups with an interest in the above matters.