Extradition lawyers

Extradition Lawyer

Extradition is a formal process of a country surrendering a wanted person to another country for prosecution or trial for crimes committed in the requesting country. An extradition lawyers can help you fight the extradition process or help facilitate it according to the fugitive’s wishes and the law’s wishes. Sovereign countries don’t have any duties under international law to surrender a wanted person within their jurisdiction. However, bilateral extradition treaties between countries determine the extradition procedures, available defenses, and the scope of the extraditable crimes. 

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Extradition lawyers

What is an Extradition Treaty?

An extradition treaty defines the circumstances that an extradition between two countries occurs. It includes a list of agreed crimes that each country agrees to extradite. However, extraditions are also possible without a treaty through diplomatic relations.

Generally, there are five principles that countries must follow under a treaty:

  • Extradition only applies to the crimes mentioned in the treaty.
  • The requested country had to be satisfied that there’s a prima facie case made against the wanted person.
  • The fugitive must face a fair trial after extradition
  • Extradition should be made for the crime which the requesting country committed.
  • Applies the dual criminality principle, which means that the crime is an offense in both the sending and requesting countries.

What are the Basics of International Extradition?

The extradition of a fugitive depends on the laws of the countries involved. An extradition lawyer must address four essential questions before the extradition process.

  • Has the requesting country provided probable cause evidence that a wanted person committed a crime?
  • Is the crime committed subject to extradition?
  • Can the identity of the wanted person be confirmed?
  • Are there exemptions applicable to extradition?

What’s the Purpose of Extradition?

A few reasons lead to the extradition of a fugitive:

  1. It’s in the interest of civilized societies that criminals shouldn’t go unpunished. Hence many states should help each other to bring offenders to justice.
  2. A country safeguards its interest by surrendering the wanted persons.
  3. Extradition is an act warning criminal that they can’t escape punishment for crimes committed by going to other countries.
  4. Extradition is a step closer to achieving close international cooperation by solving crimes internationally. 
  5. The requesting nation is better positioned to try the offender, as they have evidence for the crimes committed.

Are there Exceptions to Extradition?

Several factors influence extradition, even when two countries have an existing treaty. These include;

  • Political crimes– Generally, a country won’t grant extradition of a fugitive wanted for a political crime. However, it’s up to the foreign country to determine what constitutes a political crime.
  • Nationality- Most countries don’t extradite their citizens to other countries. However, if there is a treaty between the countries, they might consider and extradite the fugitive while also considering any other condition is met before deporting them.
  • Dual criminality– At times, a requesting country fights for extradition on the grounds that the foreign country holding the individual can’t punish them for committing the crime within its borders.
  • Forms of punishment- Some countries refuse extradition requests if the wanted person faces severe punishment such as torture or death.
  • Double jeopardy– At times, a mistake in extradition might lead to the person being convicted twice for the same offense. If the person has already served punishment or been convicted for a crime, then there is the exception of extradition

What are the alternatives to International Extradition?

Here are a few alternatives to extradition that countries practice.

  • Waiver– It’s the least contentious alternative, where a wanted person can waive the extradition process and agree to the transfer to the requesting country.
  • Deportation- Instead of extradition, some countries agree to deport a wanted person, even outside any administrative process.
  • Extraordinary rendition– This alternative means that a fugitive is forced out of a country of refuge and deprived of access to its judicial process. However, human rights groups claim that this option is illegal.
  • Foreign Prosecution: The option involves the foreign country prosecuting the wanted person/ it happens if the fugitive is national of the country and hence not extraditable.

What are some of the Defense Strategies for Extradition Proceedings?

These include:

  • Treaty Exceptions

Extradition treaties contain exceptions to any extradition request between the countries. These exceptions protect potential defendants who would otherwise be subject to extradition under normal circumstances.

  • Doctrine of Specialty

The doctrine of specialty clearly states that a fugitive, once extradited, will only be prosecuted for the alleged crimes that formed the basis of the extradition request. In some cases, it’s possible to prevent extradition based on evidence of an intent to violate the doctrine of specialty. An attorney should ensure that they do thorough research to defend you.

  • Statute of Limitation

It’s crucial to remember that the statute of limitations is not common universally. Most countries’ extradition treaties state that an extradition request can’t go through if the statute of limitation for the purported crime has expired in the requesting country.

  • Procedural Defenses

Failure to satisfy any procedural requirements necessary for extradition can provide a partial or complete defense. Any extradition lawyer needs to carefully check all aspects of an extradition request to determine if this is a plausible defense.

  • Lack of Probable Cause

In order to grant an extradition request, the sending country must ensure that it satisfies the constitution’s probable cause requirement. If the requesting country doesn’t meet the requirement, then the sending country can’t permit the extraction request.

  • Sixth Amendment Violations

Nations can prevent extradition in cases where a delay in seeking extradition affects the sixth amendment right to a fast trial. If there’s evidence that the requesting county hasn’t actively pursued steps necessary to extradite them, this defense is available.

What are some Qualities of a Great Extradition Lawyer?

  • International human rights experience

When facing extradition, you want an attorney with experience in international human rights who knows their way around the judicial system. While looking for an extradition lawyer, ensure they provide you with their past success cases in that field.

  • Confidentiality

All you discuss with your lawyer needs to stay between you and the. Breach of information can hurt your case and is also unethical for the lawyer. Attorney-client privilege is, therefore, very crucial.

  • Aggressiveness

An attorney passionate about human rights will use aggressiveness at the right time, thus resulting in a better outcome for you.

  • Great research and investigation skills

Extradition involves a lot of research and time. Your attorney needs to research every aspect of extradition that benefits you.

Final Thoughts

An extradition attorney must carefully and thoroughly check all areas of the extradition request. They should be able to determine if your case merits defense strategies that will be important in your case. 

The extradition process varies depending on the circumstances of the case and the nations involved. Hence it’s important to have a legal strategy in both the requesting and sending countries that attorneys consult.

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