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Report No. 156

Principle of universal jurisdiction in respect of the crime of the hijacking

10.21. The principle of universal jurisdiction is universally recognised in respect of the crime of piracy. Since hijacking is generally described as aerial piracy, the principle of universal jurisdiction should apply in respect of the crime of hijacking. By universal jurisdiction in respect of a crime, it is meant that the crime is against the interests of international community and in order to suppress such a crime, all States can exercise jurisdiction in respect of the crime.

The Hague Convention, 1970, and the Montreal Convention, 1971 on hijacking have gone a long way to confer universal jurisdiction to a great extent on all States, if an offender or alleged offender is within the territory of a State, both conventions contain provisions for him to be taken into custody, and if he is not extradited, for his case to be placed before the prosecution authorities.

Although neither Convention creates a duty to extradite or an inescapable duty to prosecute authorities are nevertheless under a duty to take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. If the decision is in the affirmative, the above mentioned universal jurisdictional clause ensures that the courts will be competent to hear the case.

The Indian Penal Code Back

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