Criminal Prosecution and Extradition

Multiple citizenship can turn out to be problematic in criminal prosecution and extradition. Many countries not only penalize offences com­mitted on their territory but also certain acts committed abroad.

Germany is one of the countries that prosecutes criminal offences com­mitted abroad if the offence would lead to prosecution in Germany, or if there is no power of prosecution at the scene of the crime. No matter where the German lives or resides, he is liable to German prosecution. There are no different rules for people with multiple citizenships. In other words, no matter where Germans live, they are liable to German prosecution. If you are in doubt then ask your ambassador or an attorney in your home country or in the respective foreign country. Write a letter if you feel uncomfortable going to the embassy or have an attorney represent your interests.  

As a multiple citizen, I had a legal abortion in Germany but not so at home. I just heard that my other home country may try to prosecute me. Can it?

Multiple citizens are subject to the laws of all their home countries. This means that you can indeed be held liable for acts committed abroad. These acts do not necessarily have to be subject to prosecution in Germany. Even though you are not in trouble with German authorities, your other home country could try to imprison you. Get specific legal advice if you are planning to go to your other home country.

While abroad, I was arrested and indicted for a severe crime. It was all a mistake, but I was sent to prison. Since the prison was overfilled at that time, I was extradited to Germany. Can I be charged with that crime again and even be sent to jail again?

It looks like a case of double jeopardy (being charged twice with the same offense). German constitution forbids this (art. 103 III GG). If you served time abroad, you will get credit for it in Germany. Bear in mind that sentences vary from country to country. If you were sentenced to one year in prison abroad, you might be sentenced anew in Germany to two years behind bars. You will have to serve out the remaining year. On the other hand, the reality is that German courts exercise discretion in weighing your punishment abroad.  

After having gotten into some trouble in Germany and in my other home country, I fled to a country whose nationality I do not have. To whom will I be extradited? To Germany? To my other country?

Hard to say. This problem will turn out to be really touchy for the country you are visiting. Without a treaty, the third country normally has the choice of which homeland to send you back to.