Extradition is a form of international cooperation in combating crime. It implies the transfer of the arrested persons suspected or accused of committing a crime (for trial), or persons already convicted by judicial authorities of another state (for execution of the judgment) by one state to another (on request). Within the United States, the term “extradition” also refers to rendition of the accused by one state to another.
As a rule, extradition is carried out on the basis of the agreement between the states concerned. This can be either a bilateral treaty or a multilateral convention between both the requesting and the requested states. The European Convention on extradition can serve as a model of such a convention.
In principle, extradition may take place without a convention, if it is provided for by the law of the requested state.
Extradition is a right of the state, but not its duty. It is a duty only when there is a bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Extradition may be granted only in respect of certain crimes. Usually a list of criteria for identifying the crimes (the severity of punishment, and so on) is established in the treaty. Traditionally, the rule of the “double criminality” must be respected and recognized by both the requesting and the requested parties.
The treaty sets out the conditions that allow the state to refuse extradition. These include, primarily, the suspicion that person is persecuted for political reasons or that if extradited, he or she could be tortured or executed by the requesting state.
Most countries do not allow the extradition oftheir citizens. This principle is anchored in the constitutions of many states. All EU members have legal agreements to allow extradition of their citizens. The situation is similar in the United States.
France, Japan, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and some other countries do not have its citizens extradited. In addition, not only Japanese citizens are subject to Japanese law on extradition, but also citizens of other states who are ethnic Japanese, because they are entitled to Japanese nationality.
In contemporary international law, there is a tendency to simplify extradition procedures. In particular, it is about mitigating the requirement of the “double criminality,” reducing the number of grounds for refusal of extradition, and the reduction of the role playing by the administrative authorities. The brake in this process is the reluctance of some states to unconditionally accept, issued in other countries arrest warrant in view of the different legal systems and sometimes distrust to each other.
The most progress in simplifying the extradition has been achieved by the states members of the European Union, which have adopted the so-called “European arrest warrant.” In fact, it implies the automatic execution of a request for transfer of the alleged offender, without examining the request in terms of content.
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