extradition

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extradition

(ĕkstrədĭsh`ən), delivery of a person, suspected or convicted of a crime, by the state where he has taken refuge to the state that asserts jurisdiction over him. Its purpose is to prevent criminals who flee a country from escaping punishment. Extradition first became a common policy in the 19th cent. International law does not recognize extradition as an obligation in the absence of a treaty, and although a state may, as a matter of courtesy, refuse asylumasylum
, extension of hospitality and protection to a fugitive and the place where such protection is offered. The use of temples and churches for this purpose in ancient and medieval times was known as sanctuary.
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 to a fugitive and honor a request for extradition, virtually all extradition takes place under the authority of bilateral treaties. The provisions of each nation's treaties may differ greatly from those of another, and it should be noted that some treaties are formulated so that a nation is not obligated to extradite. Extradition treaties agreed to by the United States require evidence that would show the accused to have violated the laws of both the United States and the demanding country. Moreover extradition can occur only for an offense that has been named in the treaty. In common with many other nations, the United States will not surrender a fugitive wanted for a political crime. American treaties generally provide that U.S. nationals will be surrendered for trial in a foreign country. In contrast to the United States and Great Britain, most nations of the European Continent will surrender a fugitive upon simple demand and will try their own nationals domestically for crimes committed abroad. The U.S. Congress, pursuant to Article 4, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution, has established a uniform law of extradition between the states, known as interstate rendition. This law provides that any person properly charged is subject to extradition regardless of the nature of the crime. Although the states normally comply with extradition demands, the Supreme Court has held that they have the right to refuse compliance.

Extradition

 

in international law, the surrender of a person who has committed a crime by the state on whose terri-tory the criminal finds himself to the state in whose territory the crime was committed or to the state of which the criminal is a citizen, for the institution of criminal proceedings or execution of sentence. The demand for extradition may be the consequence of the existence of special agreements concluded between the states concerned. Such agreements became widespread at the beginning of the 19th century. In some countries, such as Great Britain and Belgium, extradition is regulated by international agreement and internal legislation.

The struggle against crime is an internal affair of each state; however, that does not exclude the possibility of inter-national cooperation. In practice, the struggle against crime—taking into account in particular the modern methods of communication that facilitate a criminal’s escape abroad—has led most states to conclude a whole series of mutual extradition treaties. Under an agreement concluded in 1923, the international criminal police organization, Interpol, was established. International extradition treaties or national legislative provisions usually list the types of crime for which extradition is applicable. The demand for extradition can be satisfied only when the crime committed by the person is specified in the agreement and is punishable under the laws of the state to which the request for extradition was made, as well as of the state demanding extradition. The person extradited may be tried and sentenced only for the crime cited as the reason for the demand for extradition. Persons pursued for political crimes cannot, as a rule, be extradited. How-ever, capitalist countries substantially limit and infringe on the right of sanctuary. Opposing the growth of the revolutionary movement of the working class and the national liberation movements, they tend to pursue a policy of surrendering political emigres. Extradition agreements concluded by bourgeois states often provide for the extradition of persons wanted for revolutionary activity and participation in national liberation struggles, as well as criminals.

Often, extradition treaties also include agreements between states for rendering mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (serving documents, examining witnesses, collecting material evidence, and other investigatory activities). They also provide for such eventualities as the transit of the extradited person through the territory of a third state. Requests for extradition and for legal assistance in criminal matters are made through diplomatic channels if no direct provision for another procedure is made in the international agreement.

In the relations between the socialist countries extradition is considered one of the methods of giving mutual legal assistance. The regulations governing extradition for instituting criminal proceedings and executing sentences are laid down in bilateral agreements for legal assistance concluded between the USSR and other socialist countries.