Extradition refers to the transfer of an accused criminal from one country to another. In the best of circumstances, extradition reflects a fundamental agreement between civilized nations that sufficiently serious crimes must not go unpunished. However, extradition is often used for political purposes, not just legal ones.
Extradition treaties span hundreds of nations, resulting in a certain degree of complexity. US extradition law is particularly complex due to the number of separate treaties to which it is a signatory. Typically, extradition is only used for “extraditable offenses” (i.e., offenses included in an extradition treaty between the requesting state and surrendering state). A central requirement to most extraditions is the concept of “specialty,” which insists that an extradited defendant be tried for the crimes on which extradition was granted, not another. This protects surrendered persons from indiscriminate prosecution and persecution by a receiving country. Another important concept is the doctrine of “dual criminality,” which refers to the requirement that an extraditable offense be a serious crime that is punishable under the criminal laws of both countries in the extradition transaction.
Many foreign nations oppose capital punishment and will not agree to extradite a defendant to another country (including the United States) if there is a possibility of the defendant receiving a death sentence. Similarly, many political offenses (crimes directed against the security or government of a nation, such as treason, sedition, espionage, murder during a revolution, etc.) are generally excepted from extradition treaties.
United States extradition law is a rapidly developing area of practice. If you have a question pertaining to extradition laws, you can review the materials below for additional resources. You should also contact a qualified, experienced attorney to help you navigate the confusing and complicated labyrinth of statutes, case law, and treaties involved with these matters. You can find attorneys in your area under the “Law Firms” tab, above, on the menu bar.
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Extradition Law - US
- ABA - International Law Committee
The policy of the International Law Section spans many topics. These topics can be browsed by clicking their links below, or by using the navigation menu on the right hand side of the page.
- Extradition - Overview
Extradition comes into play when a person charged with a crime under state statutes flees the state. An individual charged with a federal crime may be moved from one state to another without any extradition procedures.
- Extradition Law - Wikipedia
Extradition law in the United States is the formal process by which a fugitive found in one country or state is surrendered to another country or state for trial or punishment. For foreign countries the process is regulated by treaty and conducted between the Federal Government of the United States and the government of a foreign country.
- FBI - Extradition Enforcement
The very heart of FBI operations lies in our investigations—which serve, as our mission states, "to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States."
- Inter-American Convention on Extradition
The States Parties bind themselves, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, to surrender to other States Parties that request their extradition persons who are judicially required for prosecution, are being tried, have been convicted or have been sentenced to a penalty involving deprivation of liberty.
- Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition - Treaties
The Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition (the “Network”) has been in development since the year 2000, when the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorney Generals of the Americas (REMJA-III) decided to increase and improve the exchange of information among OAS Member States in the area of mutual assistance in criminal matters.
- Provisional Arrests and International Extradition Requests - Red, Blue, or Green Notices
One of INTERPOL’s most important functions is to help police in member countries share critical crime-related information using the organization’s system of international notices.
- UN Model Treaty on Extradition
In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly proposed a Model Treaty on Extradition, which establishes the principle that in the interest of control of crime, nations should execute bilateral agreements for international extradition of persons charged with indictable offenses. As defined by the U.S. Department of Justice, international extradition is the formal process by which a person found in one country is surrendered to another country for trial or punishment. The process is regulated by treaty and conducted between the Federal Government of the United States and the government of a foreign country.
- United States Constitution - Interstate Extradition Clause
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime
- USDOJ - International Extradition and Related Matters - Criminal Resource Manual
International extradition is the formal process by which a person found in one country is surrendered to another country for trial or punishment. The process is regulated by treaty and conducted between the Federal Government of the United States and the government of a foreign country. It differs considerably from interstate rendition, commonly referred to as interstate extradition, mandated by the Constitution, Art. 4, Sec. 2.
Organizations Related to Extradition Law
- Extradition Lawyers’ Association
The ELA is a growing international forum. We offer access to lawyers for people and foreign governments involved in extradition proceedings. We organise training and conferences on extradition, and share with members a growing database of information about extradition law and practice, including national and international legislation and judgments.
- Fugitive Recovery Network - United States Directory
Throughout the Fugitive Recovery Network site you will find information for those in the bail bonds industry seeking a bail enforcement agent providing expert fugitive recovery services for bail bondsmen.
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries. Created in 1923, it facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
- National Association of Extradition Officials
The National Association of Extradition Officials is a nonprofit corporation organized to educate, train, and support extradition officials in the respective states; to exchange information; to develop effective practices, procedures and policies relating to interstate and international rendition; and to enable such officials to become personally acquainted, thus promoting cooperation in securing uniformity in the adoption and interpretation of laws and procedures relating to interstate and international rendition.