[2410.AB] Accomplice Liability

In reviewing the Criminal Code recently, I was somewhat surprised to find that there is no general provision for accomplice liability, i.e., a provision outlawing the purposeful solicitation or aiding / abetting of criminal conduct. At present, it seems that one could avoid criminal prosecution simply by arranging to have someone else commit the crime on your behalf. That strikes me as an odd gap in the criminal law.

Interestingly, one crime–identity fraud–does contain a provision for accomplice liability, but no others do. Organised crime could be read to create accomplice liability, but its requirement of “involvement in a group or association” sounds more like a prohibition on conspiracy rather than complicity. Plus, if organised crime were understood to create general accomplice liability, then there would have been no need to include the express complicity provision in the definition of identity fraud.

I’ve drafted up a set of amendments below that create general accomplice liability. But I don’t mean to present this as a finalized proposal, more of a starting point for discussion. Most importantly, I am curious if anyone knows the rationale for why no complicity provision was created in the first place (except for identity fraud). There may well be a good reason for the omission, in which case I would withdraw the amendments. I just couldn’t come up with one when thinking it through in the first instance.

Amendments to the Criminal Code

1. Criminal Liability

(1) An individual shall be guilty of a criminal offense if:

  1. They commit the offense by their own conduct, or
  2. They are an accomplice of another individual in the commission of the offense.

(2) An individual is an accomplice of another in the commission of an offense if, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating the commission of the offense, they:

  1. Solicit another individual to commit an offense, or
  2. Aid or attempt to aid another individual in planning or committing an offense.

1.2. Crimes

(1) Treason shall be defined as plotting against the Coalition, seeking to lower the Delegate’s endorsement count without their consent, breaking the endorsement cap after receiving an official warning, aiding any entity which the Coalition is taking defensive action against, or any entity against which a state of war exists.

(2) Identity fraud shall be defined as a deception made of one’s self, or knowingly abetting in another’s claims to a false identity, wherein this fraud threatens the security of the South Pacific, or circumvents the laws and legal processes of the South Pacific.

(3) Espionage shall be defined as an act of or attempt to obtain information that is confidential or not made publicly available for use by oneself or an entity one represents. Distribution of private information that originates in official South Pacific discussion areas, excluding private messages, without the express written permission of the relevant officials or institutions shall be considered Espionage.

  1. The Chair of the Assembly shall be the relevant official for information from private discussions of the Assembly.
  2. The Council on Regional Security shall be the relevant institution for information from private discussions of the Council.
  3. The High Court shall be the relevant institution for information from private discussions of the High Court.
  4. The Cabinet shall be the relevant institution for all other private information that originates in official South Pacific discussion areas.

(4) Blackmail shall be defined as demanding private gains from a player in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information.

(5) Contempt of Court shall be defined as a deliberate perversion of the justice system - conduct which prevents the Judiciary from reaching a true and just result.

(6) Organised crime shall be defined as involvement in a group or association with the intent of committing an unlawful act in the South Pacific.

(7) Corruption shall be defined as the misuse of public office for private or personal advantage.

(8) Electoral fraud shall be defined as the manipulation of the democratic process in the South Pacific, wherein–

  1. an individual recruits people to vote a particular way, with an underlying corrupt purpose, regardless if the recruited persons are aware of that purpose;
  2. a group of individuals organize themselves to vote a particular way, with an underlying corrupt purpose that would alter the natural outcome of the vote.

(9) Extortion shall be defined as the threatening of any individual in order to influence behavior that the recipient would otherwise not alter.

(10) Defamation shall be defined as the communication of false or grossly misleading information about an individual to a recipient, for the purposes of damaging the standing of that individual and done so with a reckless disregard for its factual accuracy.

(11) Bribery shall be defined as the receiving or offering of undue support by or to any individual in order to influence behavior that the recipient would otherwise not alter.

(12) Vexatious Charges shall be defined as the filing of criminal charges against another player despite the filing party’s knowledge that said charges were meritless, frivolous, repetitive, and/or burdensome.

(13) Conduct violations shall be defined as breaking in-game NationStates rules.

(14) Whistleblower Outing shall be defined as revealing the identity of an anonymous whistleblower with intent to cause harm to the whistleblower.

23. Punishments

(1) If found guilty of an act of treason, the offending nation will be immediately banned from the in-game region and offsite forums.

(2) Conduct violations are punishable by immediate ejection and banishment from the region, albeit punished parties may appeal this decision to the High Court. In most cases, nations that appeal the decision and apologize should expect to have their ban lifted.

(3) If found guilty of any other crime listed above, the Judiciary will determine a sentence. The sentence must be proportionate to the offense.

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This is already covered by Organised Crime: “Organised crime shall be defined as involvement in a group or association with the intent of committing an unlawful act in the South Pacific.”