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1618. Definitions -- 18 U.S.C. §112, 878, 970, 1116, 1117 And 1201

The definitions of the protected persons covered by these statutes are common to each of them. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 112(c); 878(c); 1201(a)(4). They are contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b) and include the following:

  1. Foreign Official -- the phrase "Foreign official" (18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(3)(A)) includes two distinct categories. In the first group are heads of state (Chief of State or political equivalent, President, Vice President, Prime Minister), foreign ministers, ambassadors, and other officers of cabinet rank or above of a foreign government, chief executive officers of international organizations, persons who have formerly served in such capacities, and members of their families. "Political equivalent" refers to the top official of a country, who in some instances may not be a country's formally designated "Chief of State." H.R. Rep. No. 1268, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 8 (1972). The added clause "while in the United States" serves as a territorial limitation (see 18 U.S.C. § 5) as to all of the violations directed against this category of persons, but the purpose of the victim's presence is immaterial. As indicated in H.R. Rep. No. 1268, supra, at 2: ". . . the term þofficer of cabinet rank or above' is intended to include, without being limited to, a member of the government of any nation who is the head of an executive department, the presiding officer of a nation's legislative body, or member of a nation's highest judicial tribunal."

    The second category of foreign officials (18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(3)(B)) is persons of foreign nationality who are duly notified to the United States as officers or employees of a foreign government or international organization but only if the person's presence in the United States is attributable to official business. Procedures for foreign governments to make "notification" to the United States, as well as for "designation" as an official guest, have been published in 22 C.F.R. § 2.3 (1995 Rev). To obtain information whether a person has been "duly notified" or received "designation", contact the Office of the Chief of Protocol, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520 (202) 647-4543. As proof of status that office will furnish on request a certificate in proper form admissible in evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 902(1). "The category of officers and employees of foreign governments includes those at embassies and consulates, those at missions of their governments to international organizations, and those at trade or commercial offices of foreign government." H.R. Rep. No. 1268, supra, at 2, 8, 11. The definition also includes any member of the family of a foreign official in this second category, but unlike the first category, a family member's presence in the United States must be in connection with the presence in the United States of the related foreign official.

  2. Foreign Government -- 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(2) defines the term "foreign government." In contrast to 18 U.S.C.§ 11, it contains no limitation relating to countries "with which the United States is at peace" and excludes from that term "a faction or body of insurgents within a country." As in 18 U.S.C. § 11, recognition by the United States is not a factor in defining such a nation.
  3. International Organization --Reference in 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(5) to section 1 of the International Organization Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. § 288) serves in the definition of "international organizations" to provide a specific list of such organizations. The list appears in the note following 22 U.S.C. § 288. It currently includes organizations whose activities are well known, e.g., the United Nations, as well as a number of relatively obscure organizations involved in rather esoteric activity such as the Coffee Study Group. United States Attorneys may check for last minute changes and obtain the Federal Register citation to any new Executive orders by inquiry of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State.
  4. Family -- 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(1) defines the term "family" to include spouse, parent, brother or sister, child or person to whom a "foreign official" or "internationally protected person" stands in loco parentis and any other person living in his/her household and related to him/her by blood or marriage. Although the definition excludes the families of "official guests," where appropriate, family members may be designated "official guests" in their own right. Such designations often occur during major sporting events taking place in the United States, e.g., the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
  5. Official Guest -- 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b)(6) defines the phrase "official guest" as a citizen or national of a foreign country present in the United States as an official guest of the government of the United States pursuant to designation as such by the Secretary of State. The procedure for designating "official guests" is contained at 22 C.F.R. § 2.4 (1995 Rev.). As with notification, the Chief of Protocol of the Department of State (202) 647-4543 is the source of certificates of designation.
  6. Internationally Protected Person (IPP) -- the definition of "internationally protected person (IPP)" is meant to parallel that found in the UN IPP Convention definition of "internationally protected person." See H.R. Rep. No. 1614, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 2 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News 4480, 4481. It includes:
    1. A Head of State, including any member of a collegial body performing the functions of a Head of State under the constitution of the state concerned, a Head of Government or a Minister for Foreign Affairs, whenever any such person is in a foreign state, as well as members of his family who accompany him;
    2. any representative or official of a state or any official or other agent of an international organization of an intergovernmental character who, at the time when and in the place where a crime against him, his official premises, his private accommodation or his means of transport is committed, is entitled pursuant to international law to special protection from attack on his person, freedom, or dignity, as well as members of his family forming part of his household * * * . Individuals entitled to diplomatic protection under international law are further delineated by Article 1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 23 U.S.T. 3227, T.I.A.S. 7502 (entered into force, Apr. 24,1964); and Article 1 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 U.S.T. 78. See United States v. Marcano Garcia, 456 F. Supp. 1358, 1360 (D.P.R. 1978) (relying upon Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to further define IPP). As with the earlier definitions, the Chief of Protocol of the Department of State ((202) 647-4543) can provide information whether a particular person qualifies as an Internationally Protected Person.
    The term "internationally protected person" overlaps significantly with the term "foreign official." The former term, however, is required to define precisely those persons entitled to protection under the extraterritorial jurisdiction provisions of the statutes.

    [cited in JM 9-65.800]

Updated January 17, 2020