Response to Section 211 (b)(4) of Public Law 106-113:
“Discuss appropriate legislative and diplomatic solutions to existing gaps in United States extradition treaties and practice”
The problems discussed above, particularly relating to the extradition of nationals, are not issues that can be resolved as a matter of U.S. domestic law. Both the State and Justice Departments have made persuading other countries to extradite their nationals a high priority. This issue is raised consistently and firmly in our international dialogues and our bilateral agendas. In some cases these efforts have already been very productive. For example, with respect to South American countries such as Argentina and Paraguay we have eliminated nationality as a bar to extradition in recently negotiated treaties. In European countries such as Austria, Cyprus and Luxembourg, while the treaties do not require extradition of nationals, they do require the countries to submit for prosecution at our request any case denied solely on the basis of nationality. With other countries, such as Mexico, Israel and the Dominican Republic, we have not changed the terms of the existing treaties, but the countries are taking additional and more vigorous and helpful steps under their domestic laws to extradite nationals, at least under some circumstances. Our international efforts are ongoing, and over time we believe we will have additional successes, although in many countries resistance to the extradition of nationals remains an engrained national policy that may not change in the foreseeable future.
More generally, we are working with other countries to enhance the effectiveness of international extradition, through strengthened liaison and communication with the foreign government and by gaining a better knowledge of each other’s legal systems as a result of working together on individual cases. Where necessary, we are developing protocols to existing treaties to enhance the treaty basis for international extradition. For example, a recent protocol to our extradition treaty with Spain brought into force in 1999 eliminates statutes of limitations and amnesties in the Requested State as bases for denying extradition. In some cases, such as with Sri Lanka, Paraguay and South Africa, we have developed entirely new treaties to improve and update older treaty relationships.
As to countries where we are not yet prepared to make a general commitment to extradite, we are working on developing other types of law enforcement cooperation. With respect to Russia, for instance, this process began with informal arrangements between our law enforcement agencies. It progressed to negotiation of a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement and most recently the negotiation of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which was transmitted to the Senate on February 4, 2000, for advice and consent to ratification. By establishing such law enforcement relationships we are then able to exchange evidence that may assist in tracking fugitives to a country from which extradition is possible, and to obtain or provide evidence necessary for effective prosecutions.