IRISH citizens or residents who commit serious criminal offences in other countries are now liable for prosecution in Ireland under new legislation.
The Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act, which comes into force today, allows the State to take action against Irish people who commit a wide range of offences abroad – including harassment, sexual assault and rape.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the passing of the new law enabled Ireland to fulfill its international obligations under the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women and domestic violence.
The Convention – also known as 'The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence' – was signed by Ireland back in November 2015.
The new Act was signed into Irish law by President Michael D Higgins on March 5 and takes effect from today, Monday April 29.
"We are steadfast in our efforts to combat violence against women and all forms of domestic violence," Minister Flanagan said.
"The commencement of this Act signifies that Ireland is committed to our international obligations and that we are steadfast in our efforts to combat violence against women and all forms of domestic violence.
"These new provisions can now be used to tackle violent crimes committed by Irish citizens and residents abroad".
He added: "This Act, in conjunction with other pieces of legislation such as the recently enacted Domestic Violence Act 2018, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Victims of Crime Act 2017, enable Ireland to effectively tackle these serious crimes at home and abroad."
Offences dealt with under the new law include assault causing harm, assault causing serious harm, threats to kill or cause serious harm, coercion, harassment, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and rape.
Murder and manslaughter are already covered under existing international agreements.