From expatica.com,

According to the French criminal code (code penal) every crime that is committed abroad by a French national is punishable in France. This has allowed the government to prosecute individuals for crimes committed by French citizens regardless of geography. This has included prosecuting individuals for genocide. The law also gives France jurisdiction in cases of genocide where the crime is committed by a non-French national against a French citizen. However, in these cases criminal proceedings can only be initiated by the public prosecutor following a complaint by the victim or their legal successors. Additionally, France’s criminal jurisdiction has international reach based on territorial impact, national security or protection of currency against counterfeiting.

American law prevents double jeooardy, I.e. being tried twice for the same crime. If a French national has been extradited and sentenced for a crime committed on American soil, can they also be prosecuted for the same crime by the American government if they return to the US?

  • If the French national was prosecuted by the French government for a crime on foreign soil, presumably some sort of extradition took place to facilitate it, and possible incarceration. Are you asking if it's possible for the American government to say "Okay, now it's our turn to prosecute him, send him back over here."? Your question isn't quite clear at the end. Incarceration abroad is surely on topic here, but I'm not quite getting this to fit that.
    – user100
    Mar 13, 2014 at 12:49
  • @TimPost I attempted to clarify what I was asking. If it is off-topic in this form, feel free to close it.
    – Cuchulain
    Mar 13, 2014 at 12:53
  • Thanks for your edit, it makes perfect sense now :) That is a rather interesting question.
    – user100
    Mar 13, 2014 at 14:45
  • 2
    Note that this law stems in part from the long-standing French practice of never extraditing French nationals (with a recent exception for the European Arrest Warrant), which could mean leaving serious crimes unpunished if French tribunals could not find themselves competent (that's what the genocide case is about: France already has a strained relationship with Rwanda but can't possibly extradite French citizens involved in the genocide there, local prosecution is the only option left). AFAIK, It has not been designed to punish French people twice.
    – Gala
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:36
  • 1
    I am not sure who is suppose to extradite who in your scenario but French authorities do not typically actively seek people abroad to prosecute them for things they have done outside the country. It's just a door left open to prosecute people who can't be extradited and a few other things (like French people going abroad specifically to commit a crime and returning home). There is also no way a French citizen could be extradited to the US without first stripping him or her of the French nationality (and that's pretty difficult too).
    – Gala
    Mar 13, 2014 at 18:40

1 Answer 1



I would suggest that for the crime commited against or by French citizen in the United States it is very difficult to say whether the extradition of this person to France will be granted.

If you look at Criminal Resource Manual 603 one ofthe determining factors for extradition would be:

Potential for Trial or Retrial: If the fugitive has not been convicted, confirmation that the case is triable, i.e., that all necessary witnesses and evidence are still available and that the substantial costs involved in completing an extradition request are justified by the nature of the case.

There is also a required list of documents in support of the extradition request, which for a crime committed on foreign soil are very difficult to get part of which is the evidence and affidavits that the person to be extradited is the offender and the crime had actually been committed CRM 608, which would be in the jurisdiction of the relevant US court or law enforcement agency.

So all in all I would say it is more likely you will go to trial in the US then be extradited to France for the crime committed here.

Of course this doesn't take into account any outstanding international warrants that may precede crime being committed on the US soil.


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