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frequently works closely with its counterpart in addressing such issues.  This process begins during the actual negotiation of the treaty and consultations are commonly held on a periodic basis after the treaty enters into force.  In some cases, U.S. foreign assistance programs provide guidance and training to foreign police and prosecutors in this area, thereby helping to develop more effective institutions and practices.  

-- Finally, in some notable cases foreign courts might call into question the validity of treaties entered into by their governments, including extradition treaties, thereby impeding the ability of their governments to rely upon those treaties in cases before their domestic courts.  For example, the Supreme Court of Colombia ruled in 1986 -- four years after the 1979 U.S.-Colombia Extradition Treaty had entered into force -- that the relevant Colombian legislation was invalid.10  Even though it has been unable to rely on the provisions of the treaty to arrest and extradite fugitives at the request of the United States, the Government of Colombia has used its domestic extradition law to extradite persons to the United States.11  Similarly, a Jordanian court has ruled that the manner in which the 1995 U.S.-Jordan extradition treaty was approved domestically in Jordan did not meet the requirements of Jordanian domestic law, and this matter is under review.

Cases Where There is no Treaty in Force

There are also times when the United States does not have extradition treaty relationships with countries where fugitives might be located.  Sometimes not pursuing such relationships is a conscious choice, even where there is a possible law enforcement need.  This is because extradition treaties are reciprocal and in addition to obtaining the return of fugitives to the United States, we must be prepared to surrender fugitives, including U.S. nationals, to face the legal, judicial and penal systems of our treaty partners.  Where we are not prepared to do so, we do not pursue such a treaty even though that may mean foregoing the possibility of obtaining the extradition of fugitives from that country.  In other instances, of course, the absence of a treaty can simply mean that up to that point the need for a treaty with a particular country has not been a sufficiently high priority.     

10 The U.S. Government has never considered that the Colombian domestic court's decision had the effect of terminating the treaty under international law.  The United States considers the treaty to be in force, and to remain legally binding on both parties.  In a recent case, a U.S. district court accepted the State Department's declaration that the treaty is in force, and could serve as a legal basis to extradite persons to Colombia.

11 The Government of Colombia, unlike the United States Government, can extradite fugitives internationally without relying on a treaty before its domestic courts.

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