Extraterritorial Criminal Jurisdiction18 U.S.C.
§§ 112, 878, 970, 1116, 1117 and 1201
- Murdering, kidnapping, assaulting, or threatening of an internationally
protected person (IPP), is prosecutable in a court of the United States,
regardless of where the crime occurred, as long as the "alleged offender is
present within the United States." See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §
(murder of IPP); § 1201(e)(kidnapping); § 112(e) (assaults,
strikes, imprisons); § 878(d) (threatens). Such extraterritorial
jurisdictional provisions are predicated upon the requirements of the U.N.
and OAS Treaties to which the United States is a signatory. See H.R.
No. 1614, 98th Cong., 2d Sess. (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S. Code
and Adm. News 4480, 4482. Under customary international law, the assertion
such jurisdiction is permissible under the "universal" principle which
a state to prosecute certain extraterritorial offenses recognized by the
community of nations as of universal concern. See United States
Yunis, 924 F.2d 1086, 1091 (D.C. Cir. 1991). The Yunis decision
suggests that the jurisdictional element of presence in the United States
satisfied by the defendant's forcible rendition to the United States.
Yunis, 924 F.2d at 1092; see also United States v.
908 F. Supp. 6 (D. D.C. 1995).
- While Federal courts have jurisdiction over offenses against
internationally protected persons solely upon the basis of the alleged
presence within the United States, regardless of the place where the offense
committed, they may exercise jurisdiction over similar offenses involving a
foreign official or official guest only if the offense occurred when the
was in the United States. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §
1116(b)(3),(6). As a practical matter, however, most foreign officials will
be entitled to protection as IPPs.
- Section 721 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
Pub. L. 104-132, § 721, 110 Stat. 1214, 1298, amended the various
protecting IPPs to make it clear that extraterritorial jurisdiction exists
an offense against an IPP outside the United States whenever (1) the victim
is a representative, officer, employee, or agent of the United States
or (2) the offender is a national of the United States; or (3) the offender
afterwards "found" in the United States. The effective date for the changes
by section 721 is April 24, 1996.
[cited in USAM 9-65.800]