It's about U.S. Charges Four in Connection With the Assassination of Haiti’s President article:

The decision to charge the men, considered to be ringleaders in the assassination plot, in the United States is an indication of the chronic dysfunction of the Haitian justice system.

What authority does the United States have to hold and try persons accused of assassinating the Haitian president?

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    It would help this question very much if you summarized that link in the question as the link is pay-walled. Feb 2, 2023 at 8:58
  • "Hold" is straightforward: the US has an extradition treaty with Haiti, and murder is a crime in both countries.
    – Mark
    Feb 2, 2023 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


The New York Times article linked in the question sets out key facts including the following ones:

Three Haitian Americans and a Colombian national have been charged in the United States with involvement in the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

The announcement of the charges from the federal government — more than 18 months after the murder of Mr. Moïse — outlined a sprawling conspiracy to murder the Haitian leader and seize power, supported by an unnamed former Haitian Supreme Court judge, Colombian mercenaries and an illegal arms shipment from the United States.

The decision to charge the four men, who are considered to be some of the ringleaders in the assassination plot, in the United States is an indication of the chronic dysfunction of the Haitian justice system. Government institutions have disintegrated after Mr. Moïse’s assassination, and conditions in the country have worsened in recent months.

Three of the four men were charged with conspiracy in the murder of Mr. Moïse: James Solages and Joseph Vincent, who are dual Haitian American citizens, and Germán Alejandro Rivera García, a Colombian accused of leading a group of mercenaries operating in Haiti. . . .

Dr. Christian Emmanuel Sanon, another dual Haitian American citizen, was charged with counts related to smuggling.

Three other men had already been charged in the United States in connection with the assassination plot.

It appears that the main basis for asserting jurisdiction is that the conspiracy to murder the President of Haiti was carried out, in part, in the United States. The Florida venue, which is where some of the smuggling allegedly occurred also supports this conclusion.

Generally speaking, under U.S. law, crimes can be prosecuted in any place where the crime is carried out or where the crime has an effect.

Strictly speaking, it shouldn't legally matter as a question of criminal procedure whether or not the perpetrators were American citizens. But that fact that all or most of the defendants are American citizens or dual American citizens is also notable. The United States probably has the constitutional authority to prosecute its citizens for crimes committed abroad, even though as a general rule, it chooses not to exercise that authority and its authority to do so as a matter of criminal procedure is a separate question.

  • That is the view of the United States, but not a matter of international law. Other countries set the focus differently. See for example the German §5 and §6 StGB with its long and detailed lists of criteria for prosecuting crimes carried out abroad. §7 on the other hand contains a clause that allows prosecuting all German citizens for all crimes committed abroad, as long as they are also crimes under local law.
    – ccprog
    Feb 2, 2023 at 14:52
  • I know the news stories I read emphasised the fact that they were all US Citizens. It at least felt like an implication that this was the basis for the authority to arrest and try them.
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 2, 2023 at 15:02
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    @ccprog Certainly, and if the question pertained to a trial in some jurisdiction other than the U.S., its laws would have to be considered instead.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 2, 2023 at 15:11
  • @T.E.D. In this case, I think that this emphasis has been put in Justice Department press releases to give the public that impression for political reasons rather than for legal ones. To the extent that this involves international relations it may also be something that is being done to suggest to other countries that the prosecutions in this case are not unreasonable relative to the assertions of jurisdiction made by those other countries.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 2, 2023 at 15:13
  • @ohwilleke: Re international relations: It's probably an implicit invocation of the Master Nationality Rule. As a matter of international law, the US has an absolute right to treat dual US-somewhere-else citizens as if they were solely US citizens, whenever they are physically within the US, and somewhere-else has no right to provide (formal, official) diplomatic assistance unless the US specifically chooses to allow it. I'm not sure if Haiti would want to provide such assistance, of course...
    – Kevin
    Feb 2, 2023 at 20:13

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