Should the criminals who committed a crime in some country but got the opportunity to flee away to another country, to escape from being prosecuted by the government where the criminal committed the offense, given asylum in the country they ran to or should be left untried as the country lacks jurisdiction on the criminal. Thus, the concept of extradition has been founded on the social principles that seek the community’s well-being at large. The word extradition has been derived from the Latin words ‘ex’ and ‘traditio,’ where ex means ‘from or out of’ and traditio means ‘handing over or giving up.’ In the words of J.G. Starke from the Introduction to International Law (tenth edition), “The term extradition denotes the process whereby under a concluded treaty one State requested the other state to surrenders a person accused or convicted of a criminal offense committed against the laws of the requesting State, such requesting State being competent to try the alleged offender.”
In layman’s terms, extradition can be explained as handing over a fugitive criminal by the state where such fugitive criminal has escaped to or is present at that time, on the state’s request, the fugitive criminal has committed the offense. In view of the principles embedded in the international law, no state is obligated to surrender the accused who is present within its premises to the requesting state. The provisions of international law uphold the principle of sovereignty. Each state possesses complete authority and right over the entire state and all the matters and affairs within its premises, without being subject to any kind of foreign intervention. As upheld by Justice Sathasivam of India’s Supreme Court, with the increase in international transport and communication, the demand for extradition has emerged in the present age. Therefore, it is recommended that countries enter into international extradition treaties or bi-lateral extradition agreements. Although, in the absence of such treaties, the countries may still approve the extradition request on the principle of reciprocity. This article will focus on the important provisions of the extradition treaty concluded between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India. Both the UAE and India have their own set of extradition laws.
In India, the Extradition Act of 1962 contains the provisions that regulate any fugitive criminal’s extradition from India to another country or extradite a convicted escapee from some other state to India. Likewise, Federal Law Number 39 of 2006, concerning the International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (the Extradition Law), is the regulating legislation in UAE, which provides rules to be adopted when it comes to extradition matters. In 1999, the Government of India and the United Arab Emirates entered into an extradition treaty (the Extradition Treaty). After that, on 24 May 2000, the instruments of ratification of the same were exchanged between India and UAE.
The primary principles on which the approval of the extradition treaty is based upon and adopted by many nations are as follows:
As per this principle, the offense for which extradition is sought must be considered as an offense under both the jurisdictions of the requesting country and requested country.
In line with this rule, the fugitive convict, who has been extradited, shall not be prosecuted for any other offense apart from the offense for which such extradition is sought.
This principle upholds the basic human rights of the person to be extradited, as extradition requests can be denied in cases where it is possible that the punishment imposed would be severe than what it should be for such offenses. Further, where there is a scope that the extradited person may be put to death by the country requesting, in line with this principle and in order to prevent the violation of the basic human rights recognized globally, the extradition request may be denied.
Although the rule is not rigid in nature, the requested country may question the judicial procedure that will be followed in the requesting country in cases where such procedure may be against the principle of law and justice and prevents scope from having a fair trial. Article 1 of the Extradition Treaty obligates both the parties to the treaty to hand over to each other any person who is convicted or accused of any extraditable offense as per the law of the countries who are parties to this treaty if such fugitive accused is found present within premises of their territories.
As per article 2 of the Extradition Treaty, the following are the prerequisites for extradition:
As per the extradition treaty, when it comes to offenses related to fiscal charges, taxes, and customs, the provisions of this treaty shall take effect only if the laws of the requested country contain offenses of similar nature. Further, the Extradition Treaty states that even an attempt or conspiracy to involve or commit an extraditable offense shall be deemed as an extraditable offense.
Article 4 of the Extradition Treaty lays down the circumstances when extradition can be granted as follows:
Article 5 of the Extradition Treaty states that the nationals of the parties to this treaty are exempted from being extradited, as long as the requested country has initiated such cases to the competent authorities for prosecution, if such act committed is punishable under laws of the country of the parties to this treaty.
The extradition request shall be initiated in writing and transmitted via the diplomatic channels along with below stated documents:
All of the documents as mentioned above should be translated into English and further validated by the requesting state.
Article 14 of the Extradition Treaty lays down the process and the timeline to be adopted while approving or rejecting the extradition request as follows: The competent authorities are required to assess the extradition request in the light of the provisions of the law in force during the time when such request has been made. In case the extradition request is accepted, then the requesting country shall be notified of the place and date of extradition. Whereas, in cases where the request is denied, then the requesting state shall be notified of the same through diplomatic channels, along with the reasons for such denial of an extradition request. Further, if the extradition request has been granted, then the requesting country is required to take the person sought to be extradited within a period of thirty (30) days from the date when the requesting country has been notified of the approval of the extradition request. The lapse of this period will permit the country requested to release the person to be extradited. Further, any second request of extradition will not be accepted for the same offense. Further, in cases of urgency, a request for provisional arrest and remand can be made in writing form to the competent authorities of the requested country, either directly or via the international criminal police organization (INTERPOL) mediums, until the request of extradition is processed. Article 12 of the Extradition Treaty provides that in cases where there are several requests for extradition from different countries for the same person, then the requested country is required to decide on the following priority basis:
If similar circumstances as stated above are present for the countries requesting, then the extradition request shall be granted to the country that made the extradition request first. As per the provisions of the extradition treaty, it is necessary that a person extradited should be tried or sentenced by the requesting country for the offenses on which extradition is requested or offenses that can be related to the crimes on which extradition is requested. Further, the parties to this treaty shall not extradite the person to any other third state without the prior consent of each other, as the case may be. The extradition laws have obtained a great significance in the world, as it upholds the justice and peace among the nations. The criminals who think they can escape and be safe will be alarmed amid these extradition treaties or principles of reciprocity. They will be prosecuted for the offenses committed, despite fleeing away to a different country from the place where such crime took place.