To fully understand extradition, imagine this: a person commits a crime in Country A but then flees to Country B. Country A wants to try this person in court for their crime, so it requests Country B to send this person back. This procedure is what we call extradition.
But it’s not as simple as asking and receiving. There are rules, processes, and sometimes politics involved in this process. It’s a delicate matter because it involves the laws and sovereignty of two different jurisdictions.
Extradition Treaties and Agreements
Often, this occurs because of agreements between countries. These are called extradition treaties. They outline the rules and procedures for extradition between the countries involved. Each treaty is different, reflecting the unique legal requirements and agreements of the participating countries.
Not all countries have such treaties with each other. However, even without a treaty, countries may choose to extradite criminals under what’s known as the principle of universal jurisdiction.
This principle holds that some crimes are so grave and so against humanity that any country can prosecute them. These crimes include genocide, war crimes, and piracy. In such cases, a country may choose to extradite the accused person even without a treaty.
The Extradition Process
The process involves a formal request from the requesting jurisdiction to the jurisdiction currently hosting the accused or convicted person. The requesting country presents evidence to support their request, showing that they have a valid case against the person.
The individual who is the subject of the request isn’t left defenseless. They have the right to challenge the request and argue their case, usually with the help of a lawyer.
The Decision to Extradite
After reviewing the request and hearing from both sides, a court or a similar judicial authority makes the final decision. They weigh the evidence, consider the laws and agreements, and make a decision. If they approve the request, the extradition proceeds. If they deny it, the person stays put.
This decision-making process is critical because it upholds the principle of justice. It ensures that the person isn’t just handed over without due process, protecting their rights while also considering the rights and needs of the requesting jurisdiction.