Practice Relating to Rule 160. Statutes of Limitation
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, Sweden stated:
18. … Statutory limitation applied in Sweden to all kinds of crimes, from the most petty to the gravest … The statutory limitation on [the most serious crimes punished by life imprisonment] was fixed at twenty-five years from the date on which the crime was committed. The principle of statutory limitation had been recognized in his country for more than 150 years and was an integral part of the Swedish Penal Code. His government therefore had no intention of renouncing that principle with regard to a certain category of crimes, even if they were war crimes or crimes against humanity …
19. Since that was the case, his Government had no intention of acceding to the convention adopted by the Committee. He felt that, except as regarded those States which became parties to the [draft] convention [on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity], there was no principle of international law which sanctioned the non-applicability of statutory limitation to war crimes and crimes against humanity.