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Criminal Resource Manual

1624. Substantive Offenses -- Assault -- 18 U.S.C. 112

18 U.S.C. § 112(a) prohibits assaults against foreign officials, official guests, and internationally protected persons (IPPs), and attacks upon the official premises, private accommodations, or means of transport of such persons. The provision also embraces attempts to commit such offenses. By its terms, § 112(a) neither requires proof of injury nor intent to injure a protected person. See United States v. Gan, 636 F.2d 28 (2d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 1020 (1981).

18 U.S.C. § 112(b) prohibits acts of intimidation, threats, coercion and harassment against foreign officials and official guests, and obstruction of foreign officials in the performance of their duties.

In contrast with 18 U.S.C. § 111, which prohibits assaults upon U.S. government employees, the word "forcibly" does not appear in relation to the term "obstructs" in 18 U.S.C. § 112(b). Consequently, the use of force does not appear necessary in connection with resisting or interfering with the performance of a foreign official's duties. Cf. Long v. United States, 119 F.2d 717, 719 (4th Cir. 1952).

Because of the extraterritorial reach of 18 U.S.C. § 112(e), which permits prosecution under this section if a defendant who has victimized an internationally protected person is "present" within the United States, conspiracy to commit a violent act against an internationally protected person outside the jurisdiction of the United States is prohibited and subject to prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 371.

Senate Report No. 1105, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 18 (1972), reprinted at 1972 U.S. Code. Cong. and Adm. News 4316, 4327, includes the following acts as illustrative of the misconduct intended to be covered in 18 U.S.C. §  112(b) if done "with intent to intimidate, alarm, or persecute a foreign official or an official guest":

  1. Following (a foreign official or official guest) about in public place or places after being requested not to do so.
  2. Engaging in a course of conduct, including the use of abusive language, or repeatedly committing acts which alarm, intimidate or persecute him which serve no legitimate purpose; or
  3. Communicating with him anonymously by telephone, telegraph, or otherwise in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm, or making repeated telephone calls to him whether or not conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication.

The list is not all-inclusive (S. Rep. No. 1105 at 19) and other ways of violation, either more sophisticated or crude, will no doubt occur to one bent on harassment, etc. The Senate Report also cites State and Federal law of more general applicability that will also reach most other, if not all, such activity. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §§ 875, 876 (concerning threatening telephonic or mailed communications).

[cited in USAM 9-65.800]