Jana Panáková is a 2010 graduate from the LLM Programme Law & Politics of International Security. She specialises in international criminal law and international humanitarian law. Recently she has completed an internship with the International Justice Programme of the Human Rights Watch and currently works as an intern for the Universal Justice Program of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. The present article has been adapted from her master thesis of the same title.
Universal jurisdiction is where international law and international politics walk together on a thin line between their respective worlds. Yet, while much has been written aboutlegal aspects of this controversial legal concept,its political implications remain largely under-researched. This article explores two cases where the interplay between law and politics has led to strikingly opposite results: the case of Spain and Augusto Pinochet, where a state has been shamed into compliance through the exercise of universal jurisdiction by another country (‘Pinochet effect’); and the one of Belgium and United States, where a state has been shamed to change its laws through the exercise of universal jurisdiction by its own courts (‘Rumsfeld effect’). This article identifies the key aspects of the two model cases by creating a kind of a check-list aiming to simplify the testing of the presence of the Pinochet and Rumsfeld effect in other cases based on universal jurisdiction. The article equally introduces a first testing of the presence of said effects on the prosecution of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré.