So the death penalty does not exist in the UK, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I beleive our laws also state that a person may not be extradited for prosecution if the conviction of the crime will result in the death penalty under the foreign country's laws. So considering the above, what would happen to a person who commited a serious crime that would result in death penalty in the foreign country, and is also a serious crime here in the uk (murder, sexual assult), could they be prosecuted and imprisoned in the uk, following uk laws?

1 Answer 1


Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes can be prosecuted in the UK no matter who did it or where. Murder and rape are not included in the Universal Jurisdiction offenses. There are some other crimes that can be extraterritorially prosecuted (see here) covering bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, circumvention of trade restrictions, but this does not include murder or rape.

Therefore if, for example, Jones is accused of murder in Texas, the Texas prosecutor must give assurances that the death penalty will not be sought. If he won't give such assurances, Jones cannot be extradited from the UK, and he also cannot be prosecuted in the UK for that crime.

  • OK that's helpful, this does raise another question for me though. Why if, for whatever reason, this person cannot be extradited, won't they prosecuted? If certain crimes, depending on seriousness, can be prosecuted extraterritorially, why does that not include murder or rape, which I, and most people, would consider far more serious than bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.
    – Ethan
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 20:22
  • 1
    Mainly because Parliament has not passed such a law. The usual rule of law is that you prosecute for crimes committed within the jurisdiction, and it is a special exception to prosecute for crimes committed in another jurisdiction. One class of exceptions is citizens of X being prosecuted for specific crimes in a foreign country (such as sex with a child, which laws are intended to discourage child sex tourism). Perhaps if a person is not extradited for murder and subsequently commits the same crime in the UK, that will change. Apostacy is considered a serious crime in some countries.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 20:35
  • Also, just to clarify, these exceptions only apply to the use of extraterritorial prosecution? The UK will still under no circumstances extradite someone if the death penalty is a possibility, no matter how serious a crime is alledged?
    – Ethan
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 20:51
  • Yes, extradition with the possibility of the death penalty is forbidden, regardless of the crime.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 0:45

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