Extradition, the formal surrendering of a person by one country to another country in order that the fugitive may be prosecuted or punished, often depends on the existence of an extradition treaty. While the United States has attempted extradition proceedings in the absence of a treaty, the US courts have generally not supported these attempts and so, the bite of law enforcement may be somewhat limited in the absence of an appropriate extradition treaty.
An extradition treaty is in the nature of an agreement or contract between its signatory countries. Extradition treaties have been signed between the US and over one hundred nations throughout the world.
Most treaties contain a list of crimes for which extradition may be granted such as murder; voluntary manslaughter; rape; unlawful abortion; kidnapping; burglary; larceny; embezzlement; fraud; bribery and so on.
Modern Treaties Permit Extradition For Felony Offenses
The more modern extradition treaties embrace a so-called “dual criminality approach”. Under this approach the act in question must be a crime under the laws of both the USA and the country where the fugitive is taking refuge. Under these treaties, generally speaking, all felonies are extraditable offenses. Such modern treaties also delineate various classes of offenses the commission of which would not be grounds for extradition (these include for example, military and political offenses; offenses carrying capital punishment; crimes that are punishable under only the laws of one of the treaty signatories; crimes committed outside the country seeking extradition; instances when the fugitive is a national of the country in which extradition is sought and so on). Read more