Back to Top

  1. /
  2. Government
  3. /
  4. Criminal Defamation

Defamation Against Officials as a Criminal Offense

October 2022



People who only know civil law, such as for commercial affairs, typically believe that false defamation attacks cannot be prosecuted as a criminal offense.  However, defamation against any intergovernmental (IGO) Official, or any other Foreign Official, can in fact be prosecuted as a serious crime.


It is widely known, commonly understood, officially recognized, and legally codified, that defamation against any Official is almost always for the purpose of obstructing or influencing their official acts or functions.


For that reason, the crime is not merely defamation by itself, but rather is the use of defamation for criminal unlawful interference in the official activities of the State institution of the targeted Official.


Therefore, engaging in acts or even threats of defamation against an Official is a serious international crime, punishable by imprisonment, and enforceable in all countries.


The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of Ignita Veritas United (IVU) as an intergovernmental organization (IGO) will prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, offenders who engage in or threaten defamation attacks against its IGO officials, or against other Foreign Officials of its Member States.


This present brief summary puts all interested parties on legal notice, specifically quoting and citing the international laws and supporting national laws, proving that defamation against IGO or Foreign Officials is a punishable criminal offense.


Defamation as an International Crime


International law gives special law enforcement protections to Officials of an intergovernmental organization (IGO), and also to any other Foreign Officials of its Member States:


It mandates that “any Official of a State or of an international organization of an intergovernmental character [IGO]” is “entitled to special protection” as an “internationally protected person”.  It is an international crime to commit “any attacks upon the person, freedom or dignity [reputation]”, thus including defamation, against such IGO or Foreign Official.  (1973 Convention on Internationally Protected Persons, Articles 1.1(b), 2.3.)


Note that attacks against “freedom” of an Official means and includes any acts or threats of defamation obstructing one’s right of “freedom” to practice one’s profession and to perform one’s official duties.


Note that attacks against “dignity” inherently and necessarily mean and include any defamation undermining one’s reputation.


Obligations to Prosecute Worldwide


By international law, all States (meaning countries) are required to prosecute any crimes against an IGO or foreign Official, whenever “committed in the territory of” or by a “national of” that State (1973 Internationally Protected Persons, Article 3(b)-(c)).


As evidenced by American and British Commonwealth law, IGO or Foreign Officials are protected even when they are “outside” the State of the offender (18 USC 1116(c)), and against offenders who may be “outside” that State (18 USC 878(d)), regardless of whether the offense “might take place wholly or partly” outside an enforcing State (UK Serious Crime Act 2007, Schedule 4, Part 1, Part 2.1(d)).


Recognition and Enforcement as Crime


American federal law adopted and codified this protection, establishing reciprocity with other countries for its enforcement:


It also mandates that “any Officer of a foreign government or international organization… is entitled to special protection against attack upon his person, freedom or dignity [reputation]”, thus including defamation (18 USC 1116(4)(B)).


Any “attempts to intimidate, coerce, threaten, or harass” any IGO or Foreign Official, thus including acts or threats of defamation, or attempts to “obstruct a foreign official in the performance of his duties”, including by acts or threats of defamation, are punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment (18 USC 112(b)(2); 18 USC 878(a)).


Any such harassment involving defamation done “in connection with any extortionate demand”, such as threats of defamation to obstruct or influence official acts or functions, is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment (18 USC 878(b)).


The United Kingdom also adopted and codified this international crime, establishing reciprocity in the British Commonwealth of 56 countries:


It also specifically mandates “protection from attack on [the] person, freedom or dignity [reputation]”, thus including defamation, against any IGO or Foreign Official (UK Internationally Protected Persons Act (1978), Section 1(5)(b)).


Additional Crimes Involving Defamation


Additional crimes are committed when acts or threats of defamation against an Official are in retaliation for one defending State institutions or other Officials, or are made in cooperation with others:


Threats or harassment by defamation, in “retaliation” for the target asserting lawful rights and authorities, constitutes a separate felony crime of “Victim or Witness Intimidation” (1998 Declaration on Right to Protect Human Rights, Article 12.2; 1985 Declaration of Justice for Abuse of Power, Article 6(d)), punishable by up to an additional 10 years imprisonment (18 USC 1513(e)).


Unlawful combination or cooperation with any other individual or entity (i.e. an associate or media outlet publishing defamation) for any of the above also constitutes a separate felony crime of “Conspiracy Against Rights”, punishable by up to an additional 10 years imprisonment (18 USC 241; 18 USC 1513(e); 18 USC 1951(a)).



You cannot copy content of this page