Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A question of jurisdiction

I have a question for any body out there who knows something about international law and/or national jurisdiction. I was reading this NYTimes article today and I came across this passage:
Under the U.S.A. Patriot Act, signed into law shortly after the 2001 attacks, the United States labeled a bank in Macao, Banco Delta Asia, as a “primary money-laundering concern” and declared that any bank doing business on American soil — virtually every big bank in the world — could not do business with it.
I'm taking an international law class right now and we have studied the 5 principles of jurisdiction that are established by international customary practice.
1)territorial - states can make laws regarding people and things within its borders
2)nationality - states can make laws regarding its citizens, airplanes and ships regardless of where the action takes place
3)passive personality - a state has jurisdiction in any case where its citizen is victim of a crime
4)protective - a state can protect itself from espionage, counterfeiting or unwanted immigration or importations
5)universality - some acts are considered so serious that any state can claim jurisdiction, examples: slave trade & genocide

Okay, now for the question. Under what form of jurisdiction does the US Congress have the right to proscribe the actions of banks of different nationalities acting outside the United States, simply because they also do business inside the United States?

If anyone out there has an answer I really am interested in hearing it. This is NOT a rhetorical question.

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