Author granted license

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date





Association of American Law Schools




What is “transnational” criminal law? One possibility is foreign criminal law, meaning the scope and substance of what is deemed criminal behavior in other lands and the theories that ostensibly justify punishing for such behavior, indeed deeming it criminal in the first place. Another is foreign criminal procedure, the “how” of foreign criminal law’s “what” and “why”: the rules and practices of investigating crime, prosecuting suspected criminals, and adjudicating criminal cases in other lands or systems. More common meanings, judging from articles in U.S. law reviews, are comparative criminal law and comparative criminal procedure, though these might differ from their foreign-law counterparts only in that they add discussion of the law and practice of another land—typically our own—to the discussion of a foreign land or system. Equally common meanings are international criminal law and international criminal procedure: those species of wrongdoing that a group of nations collectively condemns and judges via tribunals whose jurisdiction and authority transcend national boundaries (plus, again, the theories that underlie this collective criminalization and punishment), and the rules for investigating such wrongdoing and prosecuting and adjudicating in these tribunals. And it can also mean extraterritorial aspects of national criminal law or procedure, such as the criminalization of conduct committed abroad, or the means of securing witnesses, tangible evidence, or defendants themselves from locations abroad for prosecutions at home.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.