As far as I know there are countries with extraterritorial jurisdiction when it comes to protect their citizens, so in the latter's favour. If for example a PR of Italy beats up and injures severely a tourist from the US visiting Italy, to the point of causing them massive physical damage, and the perpetrator is caught, which istitutions would the case be assigned to, Italian or US courts???

Has it happened in any istance that a criminal has been sent to a foreign country to attend the court for a crime he has committed against that country's citizen, even though the criminal's never been in that country itself?


2 Answers 2


Generally, extraterritorial jurisdiction acts as a backup. If the Italian courts want to prosecute, the US will not claim jurisdiction. And if the Italians do not want to prosecute, they're unlikely to extradite the "offender" either.

Now for physical crimes the location of the act makes it generally obvious which jurisdiction takes precedence, but for online crimes this can be less transparent. but a country that has arrested the offender and wants to try the crime probably still gets precedence.

  • Yup ok there's a sort of priority criteria when two countries are eligible to claim jurisdiction, and the most relevant one is the jurisdiction of the country the crime occurs in, in case the criminal is still present there, but has it happened that a civilian criminal has been sent to the country of the victim to attend court for crimes like violence or murder? Hacking and other politics-related crimes are a category on their own.
    – us er
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 17:21
  • This sites nothing and could be wrong.
    – Tak
    Commented May 23 at 18:56
  • @user no, two countries do not share jurisdiction like that. If you commit a crime physically on another country's soil, the U.S. does not have jurisdiction because you are a U.S. citizen. Most crimes like battery are governed only by local laws and are prosecuted locally.
    – Tak
    Commented May 23 at 19:18
  • @Tak: Morrison v. National Australia Bank established that the US has extraterritorial jurisdiction if and only if the particular law says so. Battery doesn't, that's true.
    – MSalters
    Commented May 24 at 12:21
  • Battery is normally a state crime, so it would not anyway. Even if it did, countries only use this in extreme circumstances. @MSalters
    – Tak
    Commented May 24 at 15:10

Extraterritorial jurisdiction will come into play only for certain citizens in other countries. For example, military personnel stationed in another ally's country may or may not be subject to local law for all offenses. This will be set by agreement between the two nations.

There are certainly laws that apply to US citizens even when they are abroad. There are also US laws that are used to enforce anti-terrorism measures across the globe, though that enforcement is generally via military might. However, there are no laws that affect foreign nationals in their home countries for normal criminal offenses. Moreover, very few sovereign nations would allow a foreign court authority over their citizens for events that occur within its borders. In your example, the only jurisdiction is the appropriate one in Italy.

It is possible that there have been instances of defendants being sent outside of a country for trial, but this would be a diplomatic solution, not a jurisdictional one.

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