International Extradition Law
Extradition is the delivery of an accused or a convicted individual to the state on whose territory the alleged crime has taken place or he has been convicted of a crime, by the state on whose territory the alleged criminal happens to be residing for the time being. The extradition of a fugitive from one country to another involves coordination and cooperation among law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and other government officials.
International extradition is the formal process by which a fugitive found in one country is surrendered to another country for trial or punishment. International law does not impose any obligation on states to extradite. Nor does it set out any special procedure for handing over the person concerned to the requesting state.
Under International Law, extradition is in most of the cases is a matter of a bilateral treaty. The law of extradition is a dual law. It is ostensibly a municipal law; yet it is a part of international law and governs the relations between two sovereign States over the question of whether or not a given person should be handed over by one sovereign State to another sovereign State.[:]
israeli extradition law
Israel signed as party to a multilateral extradition treaty, the European Convention on Extradition, in 1967. Israel has signed also seven bilateral treaties including treaties with Canada and the United States.
Section 1 of the Extradition Law lays down the general principle that a person found in Israel shall not be extradited to another country, except under the provisions of the Extradition Law. In order to institute extradition proceedings, the first step is to secure the presence of the person sought, either by provisional or full arrest.
A request for extradition may be preceded by a request for provisional arrest. When the appropriate authorities in Israel have decided that the situation warrants the provisional arrest of the designated person, that person may be detained before the formal request arrives. The request for provisional arrest usually contains all the documents specified in the treaty.
Under Section 6 of the Extradition Law, a person provisionally arrested must be brought before a Magistrate’s Court within 48 hours.
Under Section 7 of the Extradition Law, the magistrate may order that a person may be held in custody for up to 15 days, before filling the petition for extradition, and may extend the custody for a further 15 days. Upon special application by the Attorney General, the magistrate may extend the requested person’s arrest up to a maximum, aggregate period of 60 days. Once the petition has been filed in the District Court to have the person sought declared extraditable, then pursuant to Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the District Court may order that the person will be held in custody until the end of the proceedings.
Pursuant to Section 22 of the Extradition Law, at any time during extradition proceedings the requested person may appeal the decision to continue his arrest by petitioning the court for release on bail.
extradition proceedings in israel
The formal request for the wanted person’s extradition must be submitted through diplomatic channels. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs transfers the request for extradition to the Department of International Affairs of the Office of the State Attorney in the Ministry of Justice for further action. Under Section 3 of the Extradition Law, if the Minister of Justice determines that there is a proper case for extradition proceedings, he will order that the requested person be brought before a District Court in order to determine whether the person is extraditable.
Court proceedings begin once the Attorney General submits the extradition petition to the District Court. (see: Section 4, Extradition Law). The requested person and his attorney are then given an opportunity to examine the petition and all of the documents filed with the court. Arguments are presented by both sides before the District Court.
Any evidence which the defense may wish to introduce is limited to establishing one of the exceptions to extradition under Sections 8(1)-(3) and 10(1) and (2) of the Extradition Law, or the non-fulfillment of one of the threshold requirements set out in Sections 2, 16, 17 and 21(1). The defense is forbidden to introduce evidence solely to refuse the prima facie case against the requested person.
The court listens to the arguments of each side to help it verify whether the evidence is sufficient and admissible, the Rule of Specialty is applicable, and double criminality exists. There is a difference between the evidence required when the person sought is a convicted felon and the evidence required when the person is a suspected felon. Where the requested person has already been convicted, prima facie evidence need not be shown
Once arguments have been completed, both parties sum up. If the court is convinced that the terms of the Extradition Law have been met, namely, that there exists sufficient, admissible evidence to try the requested person had committed the same act in Israel, then the court will declare him/her extraditable to the requesting state for those specific crimes. If the Law’s provisions have not been met, the court will dismiss the petition under Section 9 of the Law.
The requested person may appeal the decision declaring him extraditable. Once the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the District Court, the Minister of Justice under Section 18 may order the extradition of the person sought. Under Section 19(a), the Minister of Justice has 60 days to exercise his discretion whether to order the extradition to be carried out. If the defendant believes that the Minister has not exercised his discretion properly in this regard, he may appeal the decison to the Supreme Court.
Section 2 of the Extradition Law sets forth the threshold requirements for extradition.
(1) Existence of a Treaty
Section 2(1) of the Extradition Law requires the existence of a treaty and permits extradition only where there exists an agreement between Israel and the requesting state providing for reciprocal obligations to extradite requested persons.
(2) Extraditable Offenses
Extradition from Israel can only be effected if the offense for which the person sought is an extraditable offense. Section 2(2) defines an extraditable offense an offense that is not of a political character and is listed in the Schedule attached to the Extradition Law.
Section 2(1) of the Extradition Law requires that the exSection 2(1) of the Extradition Law requires that the existence once, of an agreement between Israel and the requesting state that provides for reciprocity in the surrendering of criminals. This requirement may be fulfilled in the requested state either by extraditing or prosecuting the fugitive, or carrying out the sentence.
Any person may be extradited from Israel except for a person who was an Israeli national at the time of the commission of the offense.
(5) Double Criminality
Section 2(2) of the Extradition Law states that a person may be extradited if:
“he is accused or has been convicted in the requesting state of an offense of a non-political character and which, had it been committed in Israel, would be one of the offenses set out in the Schedule to this Law.”
This means that the crime must be an offense in both states. Once the court decides that all of the threshold requirements have been fuOnce the court decides that all of the threshold requirements have been fulfilled, it should determine that none of the limiting factors listed in Sections 8, 10 , 11, 17, and 21(l) of the Extradition Law exist.
The limiting factors prohibit extradition where:
• the death penalty is sought;
• the statute of limitations has run ou
• the person sought has been pardoned;
• the extradition of the requested person would subject the person to a second trial for the same offense in the requesting state;
• the person will be tried for offenses other than those for which he was extradited;
• the request arises from racial or religious discrimination; or the request involves a fiscal, military or political offense.
In Attorney General v. Friedman, C. A. 579/86, 40(4) P.D. 301 (1986), the court held that the quantum of the evidence had to be sufficient for an indictment but not for a conviction.
cases represented by our firm
New York Case – Attorney Yafit Weisbuch defended an American citizen that was charged in Israel with a fellony commited in New York towards an Israeli citizen. All charges were dropped after the Supreme Court has rulled that the state cannot fille charges of a fellony commited abroad due to the statute of limitation.
Extradition from Canada – Attorney Shai Wolstein defended an Israeli Citizen that fled the country to Canada in the middle ot trial, and was his extradition was required after more than 10 years.
Extradition from USA – Attorney Yafit Weisbuch defended an Israeli citizen that did not return to his trial and was extradited to Israel and then released on bail by the Supreme Court.