Meet the Directors of the GA 6th Committee!
Tobit Batel, Director
Tobit Batel, a fifth-year medical student at the University of Lübeck, will co-chair the sixth committee of the General Assembly (Legal) at MUIMUN 2013 with Katharina-Patricia Hauss. While attending high school in Oldenburg (Lower-Saxony), he took part in several MUN-conferences and was part of the organizational team for OLMUN 2008.
While acting as Committee Director at MUIMUN 2011 and 2012, Tobit was impressed by the high level of debate with regards to contents as well as rhetoric. He also enjoyed meeting participants from nearly all over the world and learning about their culture at the social events. In fact, talking at length with a delegate from West Africa at MUIMUN 2011 prompted him to complete a medical clerkship in Ghana in the summer of 2012, getting to know the country and its people first-hand.
Katharina-Patricia Hauss, Vice Director
Katharina has studied Law at the University of Hamburg and the University of Heidelberg. Originally she grew up in Germany very close to the Danish border in Flensburg. Currently she is on an exchange with the Law School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her special interests are International and European Law and she is pursuing part of her degree in those particular fields. During High School, she spent one year abroad with YFU in the USA.
Katharina has been involved in MUNs for about two years now, mostly in conferences in the United Kingdom, such as the ICJ simulation in Oxford and Cambridge International. She also went to National MUN in New York in 2011 as a delegate. This will be her second conference to chair. In Edinburgh, she is an active member of the MUN Society, negotiating together with other international students. All those prior experiences motivated her to chair the Legal Committee at MUIMUN 2013. Her passion for MUNs lies within the plurality of topics that one can research and discuss but also in the opportunity to reach for a better and more sensitive understanding for global issues and diplomacy. MUNs are an excellent chance for her to develop speaking and debating skills during her studies but also to meet new interesting people.
Self-Defence against Non-State Actors – National Sovereignty in Times of International Terrorism
On May 2, 2011, US-American soldiers attacked a mansion in Pakistan, killing five people. The main target of this operation was Osama bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, who is responsible, inter alia, for the terror attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Ban Ki-moon, among others, commended the operation conducted by the USA, expressing his relief that “justice has been done”.  Amnesty International, on the other hand, claims that the killing “appears to have been unlawful”  and the Pakistani government criticized that the raid was “an unauthorized unilateral action.” 
This incident is just one example of the relevance of the topic “Self-Defense Against Non-States Actors”, which extends far beyond the United States’ “war on terror” (other examples include the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War and a dispute whether Uganda may intervene against rebel troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that had attacked their territory). 
Article 51 of the United Nations Charter states that self-defense is in order “if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”  However, actions in self-defense against non-state actors (e.g. rebels or terrorist groups) mostly take place on the territory of states that are not involved in the attack on the defending party and can therefore be considered to violate Article 2(4) of the UN Charter: “All members shall refrain [...] from [...] use of force against the territorial integrity [...] of any state.”  At the Legal Committee of MUIMUN 2013, it will be your task to draft a resolution that governs in how far and under which conditions self-defense against non-state actors should be legal.
In past years, unmanned aerial vehicles (“drones”) have often been used in attacks against suspected terrorists.  Therefore, the legal status – which is still disputed  – of these remote-controlled planes is directly linked to the overall topic of “Self-Defense against Non-State Actors.”
1 http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-un-idUSTRE7414W720110502 (retrieved on November 11, 2012).
2 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/9286544/Amnesty-International-Osama-bin-Laden-raid-was-illegal.html (retrieved on November 11, 2012).
3 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/world/asia/04pakistan.html?_r=0 (retrieved on November 11, 2012).
4 cf. http://www.law.nyu.edu/ecm_dlv3/groups/public/@nyu_law_website__journals__journal_of_international_law_and_politics/documents/documents/ecm_pro_058881.pdf (retrieved in November 12, 2012).
5 Article 51 United Nations Charter.
6 Article 2(4) United Nations Charter.
7 cf. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/02/drone-strikes-thorny-legal-questions (retrieved on November 11, 2012).
8 cf. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/15/opinion/oconnell-targeted-killing/index.html (retrieved on November 11, 2012).
Universal Jurisdiction – Universal Justice?
The topic of the Scope and Application of Universal Jurisdiction has been highly controversial during the past sessions of the 6th Committee of the General Assembly. The term of Universal Jurisdiction allows states to claim jurisdiction over the crime of an individual irrespective of the place of perpetration or the nationality of the victim or other links between the crime and the prosecuting states. Crimes under Universal Jurisdiction are the most serious ones, such as genocide, war crimes, piracy and crimes against humanity.
In order to achieve international justice, the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction has been developed. For example, Jerusalem had to decide if Israel had any jurisdiction in the horrible atrocities committed by the defendant Eichmann during the Second World War. Israel referred to the crimes as grave offences against the law of nations itself, and not as crimes under Israel law alone.
However the opinions about this principle of International Law vary enormously. Many argue that Universal Jurisdiction disregards that all states are equal and therefore is a breach on each state’s sovereignty. Others claim that the principle even creates a risk of universal tyranny of national judges and that the role of international courts will consequently diminish in the future.
Nevertheless, the principle has been established and practiced in International Law, as being customary law in its original nature. Many states remain concerned about its scope and its clarity, highlighting the importance of agreeing on a universal definition and the distinction from other related concepts, such as international criminal jurisdiction.
For example, A judge named Lord Wilberforce represented the opinion that drugs-related offences were crimes of universal jurisdiction, whereas the majority rather wants to exclude this offence. This shows that views diverge on criteria of potential crimes to be exercised under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction. Under Universal Jurisdiction states can simply prosecute individuals from other states jurisdictions without having any link to it, but how far can it really go? It may not only be interference into states sovereignty but also in human rights of individuals, especially when it comes to fair trials. Another related legal question is the Status of Immunity of State Officials. Shall those individuals be prosecuted at all? Following this, the need to avoid its abuse in practice is elementary and needs to gain special attention of the Legal Committee.