The Case of Ariel Sharon and the Fate of Universal Jurisdiction

President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon after talking with the press in the Cross Hall of the White House on April 14, 2004. (Whitehouse)


In June 2001 a criminal complaint on behalf of twenty-eight witnesses and survivors of the 1982 massacre at the the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut was brought before a Belgium court. For their roles in the massacre, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, Army Major General Amos Yaron, and several members of the the Lebanese Christian militia were charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The entire proceeding immediately became known as the “case of Ariel Sharon.”

“The Case of Ariel Sharon and the Fate of Universal Jurisdiction” is a series of essays about the case of Ariel Sharon, its meaning and consequences for the fate of universal jurisdiction. It includes analyses by human rights advocates, legal scholars, and anthropologists, some of whom were participants in this legal intervention, others of whom were independent experts with different experiences and disciplinary perspectives.

The contributors to this book are interested less in establishing the guilt of the perpetrators, balancing Palestinian and Israeli accounts, or arguing about the immediate legal merits of the Sharon case than in considering its general social theoretical significance for the doctrine of universal jurisdiction.

The Case of Ariel Sharon and the Fate of Universal Jurisdiction, edited by John Borneman, including essays by John Borneman, Chibli Mallat, Luc Walleyn, Laurie King-Irani, Dan Rabinowitz, Sally Falk Moore, Paul W. Kahn, and Reed Brody, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Monograph Series, Number 2, Princeton University , 2004.

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Orders should be addressed by e-mail or post to Ms. Patricia Zimmer at PIIRS. Princeton University Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Bendheim Hall Princeton, NJ 08544.

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