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This book examines, from the perspective of public international law, various issues and difficulties faced by human rights advocates in their effort to seek redress transnationally for victims of human rights abuses through the means mainly of bringing legal action against alleged violators of human rights. The central concern is whether and how remedies can be obtained in respect of human rights violations committed by foreign nationals outside the territory of the forum State, especially where the State in whose territory such offences were committed, or the national State of the alleged offender, is unable or unwilling to exercise jurisdiction.
The book examines the core issues involved in such type of transnational human rights litigation including: the extent and limitations of universal jurisdiction in current international law; the scope of individual criminal liability and how far current international law has allowed such liability to be canvassed and enforced in various fora. It goes on to discuss the current exclusion of criminal proceedings from the law on State immunity, absolute immunity for senior State officials even where international crimes are involved and the failure as yet of national courts to give judicial cognizance to the argument of jus cogens. Before finally considering the issue of immunity before international tribunals with a view to seeing how far international tribunals can provide a viable alternative avenue for solving the difficulties envisaged.
In showing how current international law is inadequate in dealing with the type of extra-forum-State human rights violations, Xiaodong Yang demonstrates that a fundamental change in current international law is needed before the protection of human rights can truly achieve an international dimension.
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Dr Xiaodong Yang is a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, UK.
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