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Such authority would not be exercised frequently but could be important in specific cases.  There are over 60 countries with which we have no extradition treaty relationship at this time.  For many of these countries, the absence of a treaty is due only to the fact that negotiating and ratifying new treaties is both time consuming and complex, and the United States cannot always predict when law enforcement needs will call for extradition with a particular country.  This inability to surrender even escaped convicts to other countries means that criminals can find safe haven in the U.S.  The ability to extradite absent a treaty would also enhance our ability to secure extradition without a treaty from other countries which may have the authority to do so but would be willing to act only if there exists at least the possibility of reciprocity.18  

Response to Section 211 (b)(5) of Public Law 106-113:

“Discuss current priorities of the United States for negotiation of new extradition treaties and renegotiation of existing treaties, including resource factors relevant to such negotiations”

The United States currently has about 110 bilateral extradition treaty relationships in force.  As noted above, some of them are quite old and need updating, e.g., to ensure that the broadest possible number of crimes are covered and that unnecessary restrictions on extradition are removed.  In deciding our negotiating priorities, we consider factors such as problems with the existing treaties in practice; the number of persons in the country likely to be sought for trial or punishment under the treaty and the importance and gravity of the crimes involved; and the willingness of the other country to negotiate in general and in particular to agree to key provisions, including extradition of nationals.  Representatives of the State and Justice Departments meet periodically to establish and review priorities.

Within the last eighteen months, the United States has signed new extradition treaties or protocols to existing treaties with Belize, Paraguay, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.  We are in extradition treaty or protocol negotiations with Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, Lithuania, and Peru, and expect a variety of other negotiations to commence in the near future.

18 The Administration has also considered and may propose various amendments to Title 18 of the United States Code on relevant or related issues.   These include authority, often found in individual modern extradition treaties,  to (i) temporarily transfer persons in custody in the U.S. on U.S. charges, who had also been found extraditable to another country, to another country for prosecution (with return to the U.S. before serving any sentence in the other country), (ii) hold persons temporarily transferred here for such purposes and to return the transferred person following completion of judicial proceedings, and (iii) allow transit through the U.S. of fugitives wanted for prosecution in foreign countries and provide authority to hold them in custody during the transit period.    Another related provision that may be proposed would authorize the Attorney General to help defray unusual expenses incurred by state and local jurisdictions in international extradition cases.

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