January 01, 2013

Limiting Liability for Crimes Committed Abroad

“Double jeopardy” has no standard international meaning.

Tyler Hodgson

A South Korean telecommunications provider bribes U.S. Armed Forces officials and is convicted and sentenced by a South Korean court for his crime. Can he later be prosecuted by U.S. authorities for the same offense?

A British sea captain is tried and acquitted for the murder of a fellow captain in South Africa. Can he be subsequently tried for the same offense by the British authorities?

As we will see, the answer is both “yes” and “no.”

In his article elsewhere in this issue, Andrew S. Boutros discusses the increasing frequency of “carbon copy” prosecutions, a term he coined to describe the initiation by two or more jurisdictions of prosecutions based on the same set of operative facts, with the second jurisdiction simply adopting—or “carbon copying”—the facts the corporate or individual defendant admitted in the first jurisdiction’s plea or deferred prosecution agreement.

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