Criminal Act, Criminal Jurisdiction and Criminal Justice
Abstract: This book presents a study on general and specific problems concerning the role, functions and structure of criminal justice systems. After a presentation of some ideological and methodological issues, the justifications for different principles of criminal jurisdiction are discussed, both in the perspective of public international law and municipal law. The constituent elements of criminal offences are then analysed, with special focus on the territorial element in offence definitions. As the venue of a crime is often crucial in the determination of jurisdiction, a deeper investigation is carried out into the question of localization of criminal acts. It is the conclusion of the dissertation that acts should, at least for the purpose of criminal jurisdiction, be localized by reference to bodily movements of the perpetrator of a crime—the ‘act-is-movement thesis’. Special problems concerning offences of omission are then solved. This rejects thus other methods of localization that are sometimes used by the courts, such as localization by reference to the place where the result of a crime occurs. One implication of the act-is-movement thesis is that the scope of territorial jurisdiction will diminish. It is argued, however, that this diminution can, in the perspective of doing criminal justice within one State, be compensated by other forms of jurisdiction. The book concludes with discussions on the distribution of justice in an international perspective. It is argued that a State may not need to exercise its own jurisdiction if the goal of criminal justice is to see that justice be done, somewhere. On the contrary, the propriety in the exercise of jurisdiction must be explained in terms of the communication based on a shared understanding of community values between the offender and the State exercising criminal jurisdiction.
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