EU support to domestic prosecution of violations of International Humanitarian Law
Keywords:European Union, international humanitarian law, universal jurisdiction, grave breaches, war crimes
The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 establish an obligation to ensure respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) at all times. This summary obligation is now understood as enshrining a mechanism of collective responsibility whereby all State parties commit to adopt all the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent and stop violations of IHL, but also to prosecute them when they amount to war crimes. This third dimension is comprised in articles 49/50/129/146 of Conventions, which impose an obligation on its State parties to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare) alleged perpetrators of grave breaches, including on the basis of universal jurisdiction if needed. As the EU has manifested its interest in ensuring respect for IHL with the adoption of the Guidelines on promoting compliance with IHL, the objective of this article is to analyze whether and to what extent the EU has developed instruments facilitating domestic prosecution of alleged war criminals pursuant to the Geneva Conventions.