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Friday, February 15, 2013

Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act: Federal Contractor Criminal Liability Overseas

Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

The United States government uses hundreds of thousands of civilian contractors and employees overseas. They and their dependants are often subject to local prosecution for the crimes they commit abroad. Whether by agreement, practice, or circumstance—sometimes they are not. The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) permits federal prosecution of certain crimes committed abroad by Defense Department civilian employees, contractors, or their dependants. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA; H.R. 2136) (Representative Price of North Carolina) and S. 1145 (Senator Leahy) would permit federal prosecution for certain crimes committed abroad by the civilian employees, dependants, or contractors of other federal agencies.

The bills would supplement rather than replace MEJA or other provisions of federal extraterritorial jurisdiction. The crimes covered would include various federal violent, corruption, and trafficking offenses. The Attorney General would be responsible to ensure the availability of personnel and other resources necessary for investigation and prosecution of such offenses.

Otherwise applicable statutes of limitation would be suspended during the absence of a suspect from the United States. Prosecutors would be afforded the additional option of trying cases under CEJA in the district in which the employing or contracting agency maintained its headquarters.

S. 1145 was sent to the floor without a written report and essentially without amendment on June 23, 2011. The 112
th Congress adjourned without taking further action on either bill.

Date of Report: January 28, 2013
Number of Pages: 18
Order Number: R42358
Price: $29.95

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