There is an interesting (and tragic) case out of France where Andre Bamberski, 76, was convicted for organizing the kidnapping five years ago of retired doctor Dieter Krombach. Krombach was accused at the time of raping and murdering Kalinka Bamberski, 15: the daughter of Bamberski and the step daughter of Krombach. When a German court refused to extradite Krombach for the 1982 murder, Bamberski had him kidnapped and dumped (tied up) in front of a French courthouse in 2009. Bamberski was found guilty and was looking at ten years but was given a one-year suspended sentence.
Krombach was convicted in absentia of “intentional violence that led to unintentional death” in 1995. He give Kalinka a dangerous injection in order to rape her. She died. As another contrast to sentencing in the United States, he was given only 15 years for the crime. However, he fled to Germany and a court ruled that the evidence was insufficient to prove guilt and barred deportations. In 2009, Bamberski decided to take action. He insisted that he was only acting as a father and as a citizen in bringing a fugitive to justice. However, prosecutors insisted that in Germany Krombach was viewed as innocent.
Notably, Krombach was suspended from practicing medicine after a 1997 conviction for drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl in his office. Again the sentence was quite light. He pleaded guilty and got only a two-year suspended sentence.
It is very hard to prevail on such a defense in taking self-help measures if it involves violating the laws of another nation. The irony of course is that the United States regularly kills people in other nations who have not been charged let alone convicted — including its own citizens. Such targeted killings are done when the President concludes that an actual charge and trial is not feasible or would not protect the security of the country. President Obama has a formal policy allowing him to order such killings based on his inherent authority. In Bamberski’s case, he did not kill the man and had a conviction to show the court. The Obama Administration would simply say he is not a government and vive la différence.