The LAPA program organizes a series of workshops, conferences and working groups that produce LAPA-based publications. In its inaugural year, the LAPA program brought together a working group that considered the question of universal jurisdiction and its limits. The result was the Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction, published by LAPA and available through our website. LAPA has also published the results of its conferences in collaboration with I-Con, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, as well as in edited books .
According to what legal principles should national courts exercise universal jurisdiction to try non-citizens accused of committing abroad certain grave crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes? The question is of growing importance, for the decades-long effort to create an effective International Criminal Court (ICC) may yet be years from fruition. There is, however, a growing determination that grave international crimes must not go unaddressed, much less unpunished. Increasing numbers of indictments alleging such crimes are being brought in national courts on the basis of universal jurisdiction as a complementary alternative to proceeding in the still developing ICC. But these national courts, and the legislatures that adopt relevant enabling laws, are not guided by common principles. As a result, the jurisprudence of universal jurisdiction (and related issues such as amnesty, immunity, impunity, and extradition) is developing in a disparate manner that is likely to result in incoherence, confusion, and, at best, uneven justice.
The Princeton Project on Universal Jurisdiction aims to address this serious problem of international law and justice. The Project is a joint venture of Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the American Association for the ICJ, the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, and the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights. The Project convened a two-stage colloquium of leading scholars, jurists, and legal experts from around the world and created a rigorous framework to analyze universal jurisdiction and related issues as problems of law and politics. The Princeton Project has formulated consensus Principles to guide the exercise of universal jurisdiction. These Principles are being disseminated widely in the hope that they will help give coherence to international law in this critical and increasingly important area. You may obtain a copy of the principles by clicking on this link: The Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction.
On October 24-25, 2003, LAPA held a conference in Princeton on the subject of
Universalism and Local Knowledge in Human Rights. This conference produced a
book of essays, edited by then-LAPA-director Christopher Eisgruber and
Professor of Law at Central European University, Budapest, András Sajó. The
book, Global Justice and the Bulwarks of Localism: Human Rights in Context is
published by Martinus Nijhoff (Leiden, Netherlands, 2005). In it,
internationally noted scholars collaborate to address issues about human
rights and local culture from philosophical, legal, anthropological and
sociological perspectives. Their essays focus on topics including
self-determination, religion, truth & reconciliation commissions, and
Table of Contents, Global Justice and the Bulwarks of Localism
LAPA Conferences on topics in comparative constitutional law have resulted in special issues of I•Con: The International Journal of Constitutional Law. I-Con is a faculty-edited journal published in association with the New York University Law School, with an international advisory board and global reach. Its focus is international and comparative constitutional law.
The LAPA conference on the new European Constitution,Altneuland:
The Constitution of Europe in an American Perspective was held on
April 29-30, 2004, the first day at NYU Law School and the second day
at Princeton. The papers addressed the draft European constitution
before it started the ratification process and considered the future of
constitutionalism in Europe as that process was about to begin.
Table of Contents, I•Con, Volume 3, Number 2-3
LAPA's conference on North American Constitutionalism was
co-sponsored with the University of Toronto Law School and was held
in Toronto in October 2004. Organized by former LAPA fellow Ran
Hirschl and then-LAPA-director Christopher Eisgruber, the conference
brought together participants from Canada, the US and Mexico to talk
about common constitutional legacies and important constitutional
Table of Contents, I•Con, Volume 4, Number 2
On April 8-9, 2006, LAPA held a workshop in Princeton to explore the
idea of constitutional patriotism. Organized by Princeton politics
professor Jan-Werner Müller and LAPA director Kim Lane Scheppele, the
workshop was designed to go beyond Jürgen Habermas's conception of
constitutional patriotism to understand whether identification with
constitutional values could substitute for other forms of national (or
Table of Contents, I•Con, Volume 6, Number 1