Practice Relating to Rule 157. Jurisdiction over War Crimes
El Salvador’s Penal Code (1997) provides:
Criminal legislation shall also apply to offences committed by anyone whosoever in a place not subject to Salvadoran jurisdiction, provided that they affect property internationally protected by specific agreements or rules of international law or seriously undermine universally recognized human rights.
In 1999, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, the Government of El Salvador explained the reasons for universal jurisdiction over persons responsible for human rights violations and stated:
El Salvador accepts the general interest of the international community in seeking and prosecuting criminal offenders who commit acts against property protected internationally by specific agreements or rules of international law or acts seriously undermining universally recognized human rights. It therefore considers it permissible to seek this type of criminal within the national territory, thereby avoiding the difficulties which would ensue were El Salvador to become a country of asylum for criminals from other countries, and to prosecute offences against internationally recognized human rights, as occur in cases of torture when they are committed elsewhere.