There are, however, several amendments to Title 18 of the U.S. Code that the Administration has suggested in crime bills in the past several years relating to international extradition. In 1998, the Administration officially submitted to the Congress the International Crime Control Act, which included several provisions particularly relevant to this discussion. We remain interested in pursuing these proposals. Each would grant us flexibility to extradite fugitives more freely and thereby increase the likelihood that we would receive similar favorable treatment from foreign countries.
-- The first of these would permit the United States to extradite fugitives for offenses not contained in our old list treaties. As noted above, such lists can become rapidly outdated, particularly when major technological breakthroughs introduce an entirely new category of crimes, such as cyber-crime. Current U.S. law, however, in most instances provides authority to extradite only for offenses covered by extradition treaties. This gap could be filled by legislation authorizing extradition in instances where a foreign country with which we have an extradition treaty limited to a list of offenses requests extradition of a fugitive for a serious offense not included in the list. Such discretion would be carefully limited by requiring a preliminary review with certification by the Attorney General that the offense is a serious offense (as defined in the statute) and that submission of the extradition request would be important to the law enforcement interests of the United States or otherwise in the interests of justice, and by the Secretary of State that it would be consistent with the foreign policy interests of the United States. The decision to extradite would require the same judicial decision as to extraditability and decision by the Secretary of State to sign the surrender warrant as for offenses listed in the treaty. Under such a law, we would anticipate extraditing fugitives for crimes not covered under our list treaties only if we were confident that U.S. requests to that treaty partner for extradition relating to the same offenses would be granted as a matter of reciprocity.
-- The second provision would create authority to extradite a fugitive for a serious offense to a country with which the United States has no extradition treaty. (There is existing authority to extradite from the U.S. in the absence of a treaty (18 USC 3181(b)), but only in very limited circumstances.) In addition to the usual procedures set forth for extradition in the existing statute, the proposed law would also require substantial policy-level review by the executive branch before any action would be taken. 17
17 Because there would be no applicable treaty provisions, the statute would also set forth such fundamental requirements as the need for a finding by the U.S. judicial officer of probable cause to believe that the person is the person sought, that he or she committed the offense or was duly convicted in the requesting state; and that the conduct would be a serious offense (as defined in the statute) punishable by imprisonment for more than ten years under laws in the U.S.. It would also provide certain defenses to extradition. It would also ensure that the role of the Secretary of State in deciding whether or not a person should be extradited is preserved. The provision would further require that the Secretary demand in every case that the person not be tried or punished for an offense other than that for which extradited, and that the person not be subject to capital punishment unless the offense would be so punishable under the applicable laws in the U.S.