Practice Relating to Rule 160. Statutes of Limitation
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states: “The crimes and punishments set out in Titles I to III of Part II of the present law [i.e. genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes] are not subject to statutes of limitation.”
Uruguay’s Law on the Establishment of the National Human Rights Institution (2008) states:
ARTICLE 4º – (Mandate). – The INDDHH [National Human Rights Institution] shall be responsible for:
J) Hearing and investigating, at the request of a party or ex officio, alleged violations of human rights in accordance with the procedure established by this Law.
K) Suggesting to the relevant authorities the adoption of the measures that are considered appropriate to put an end to the ascertained violation of human rights, establishing the time limit for their execution and suggesting the reparations that are considered adequate, without prejudice to the possibility to issue general recommendations directed at eliminating or preventing similar situations.
L) In the course of an investigation started at the request of a party or ex officio, suggesting to the relevant authorities the adoption of the urgent provisional measures that are considered appropriate to end the alleged violation of human rights, prevent the realization of damages, the increase of those already produced or their cessation.
ARTICLE 14 – (Time limit). – The time limit for lodging the complaint or for ex-officio action is six months as of the time in which the acts or facts at stake became known.
In case of human rights violations that could be considered genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes there is no time limit for lodging the complaint.
ARTICLE 30. –
(Criminal complaint). – If the Executive Council of the INDDHH deems that, in view of the nature of the facts for which the complaint was lodged or of its investigations, an alleged crime has taken place, it must bring it to the attention of the relevant justice [authorities].
In 1967, during a debate in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the question of the punishment of war criminals and of persons who have committed crimes against humanity, the representative of Uruguay stated:
Under Uruguayan legislation, statutory limitation would be applied to all crimes, the period of limitation depending on the severity of the punishment. He recognized, however, that in the present instance, since international law prevailed over domestic law, war crimes and crimes against humanity could be excluded from the range of applicability of the rules regarding statutory limitation, or at least that the periods of limitation could be prolonged in the case of such crimes.