Non Extradition Countries

Extradition treaties are formal agreements between countries to surrender individuals wanted for criminal prosecution or sentencing in the requesting country. The United States has established such treaties with numerous countries worldwide. Despite this, there are several countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States, indicating that they will not extradite individuals sought by the U.S. government.

In addition to the absence of extradition treaties, some of these countries have no diplomatic relations with the United States, further complicating the extradition process. It is worth mentioning that while countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which are considered U.S. allies, have extradition treaties with the United States, others like Brunei and Bahrain do not.

Extradition is a form of international cooperation between states in the field of combating crime, involving the arrest and handover of individuals by one state to another upon request, who are suspected or convicted of committing a crime. Typically, such a process is carried out under the terms of a treaty between the states. This can be either a specific treaty or, however,.

Extradition Institute

Extradition, the process of handing over criminals, recognises no borders within the framework of international law. Organised crime from various countries establishes close contacts across borders, with criminals committing offences in one country and then hiding in another, often changing their residences and receiving support and assistance from others. This makes the issue of extradition highly relevant. At the same time, there is a tendency for many states to be reluctant to extradite their own citizens who have committed crimes abroad. Meanwhile, other countries are more willing to hand over “their own”.

Understanding the legal nature of extradition also varies. Some scholars believe that the extradition of criminals is purely an administrative matter, as often the decision on it is made not by a court but by the government or one of its bodies. Consequently, this institution could be classified under administrative law. At the same time, extradition can be seen as an element of criminal procedural law, given that it involves a process of transferring a person who has committed a crime to another country with certain procedural safeguards in place. Extradition can also be considered part of criminal law, specifically as an aspect of the punishment execution system.

Issuing system

The issue of extraditing criminals is also addressed in the constitutions of Russia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In European countries, extradition matters are typically decided by judicial bodies, specifically ordinary criminal courts. However, many countries acknowledge the possibility of establishing special courts to handle extradition issues. This is mentioned in the legislative acts and legal literature of Austria, Denmark, France, Portugal, Switzerland, and Spain. Iceland, Finland, and Sweden also do not rule out the creation of special courts for dealing with extradition matters.

Brief historical overview

As a point of historical reference, it’s important to note that the issue of extraditing criminals first arose in connection with the expulsion of diplomats who had committed disreputable acts or crimes in other countries. This was the birth of “diplomatic immunity”. Subsequently, those who sought political asylum in another country after committing an offence punishable by the laws of the country they fled from began to utilise the “right of non-extradition”. Eventually, under the guise of political beliefs, the “right of non-extradition” was also used by those who had committed ordinary criminal offences. A well-known case is the refusal of Turkey and the USA to extradite Lithuanian terrorists who killed a flight attendant on a Soviet airplane. Critiquing this institution, many scholars note that existing treaties between states on extradition do not always align with human rights pacts. A particularly striking example of such discrepancy is when negotiations for extradition between countries, often lasting several years, take place while the citizen, whose guilt has not yet been proven by a court, remains detained throughout these years. Commonly accepted and seemingly reasonable provisions of international law complicate the work of national law enforcement agencies in such cases, contradicting domestic legislation and human rights pacts. Therefore, extradition treaties should incorporate universally recognised principles and norms contained in human rights pacts, with mandatory respect for the national legislation of states. However, despite all these difficulties and contradictions, it’s clear that combating international crime is impossible without the institution of extradition.

Terms of Issue

The extradition of criminals is a right of the state, but not its obligation. It becomes an obligation only in the presence of a bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Extradition can only be carried out with respect to certain crimes – typically, their list or the criteria for defining them are established in the treaty. Traditionally, the principle of “dual criminality” must be observed, meaning that the crime for which extradition is requested must be recognized as such in the legislation of both the requesting and requested parties. Moreover, treaties establish conditions that allow for refusal of extradition. These primarily include justified suspicions by the requested state that the individual is being persecuted for political reasons or that, in the event of extradition, they could be subjected to torture or the death penalty.

Differences Between Extradition and Deportation

The terms extradition and deportation are often compared, but they are not the same thing. Deportation is the forced removal of foreign nationals or stateless persons from a country, with a ban on their return for a specified period or for life. Reasons for deportation can include violations of customs legislation, and the duration of the deportation depends on the severity of the offences committed. It’s important to note that in the case of deportation, the individual is not handed over to a specific country, and the state acts on its own initiative, without requests from other countries. Therefore, it cannot be said that extradition and deportation are one and the same.

List of countries with no extradition

Many people wonder about which countries do not extradite criminals. It’s worth noting a list of countries where there is no extradition treaty in place. Among these countries, one can highlight:

  • The Kingdom of Bhutan;
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
  • Azad Kashmir
  • Republic of Kosovo
  • Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
  • The Cook Islands and Niue;
  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria;
  • North Korea
  • Somalia;
  • Syria.

Partially recognised and disputed territories

Partially recognised or disputed territories often do not participate in extradition as they lack clear diplomatic relations. Such regions include:

  • Somaliland
  • Transnistria
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Western Sahara

The status of these territories complicates the establishment and implementation of international agreements, including those concerning extradition.

Countries with limited extradition

States with limited extradition that have a high degree of freedom of action:

  • Ecuador;
  • Cuba;
  • Bolivia
  • Nicaragua.
  • Iceland;
  • Switzerland;
  • Venezuela
  • Zimbabwe.

Although these countries have legal mechanisms for extradition in place, they often choose not to carry out extradition due to political, humanitarian, or legal considerations.

However, it’s important to understand that some countries, such as the United States, have such strong diplomatic relations with the majority of countries that obtaining permission to extradite criminals from countries without an extradition treaty is not a significant problem for them.

Extradition Rules in Individual Countries

When considering the issue of extradition in certain countries, it’s important to pay attention to the existence of a bilateral agreement between the states. Despite this, there are instances when even this fact does not guarantee the extradition of an individual. In most cases, the geopolitical situation and diplomatic relations that have developed between countries play a crucial role.

Europe

In European countries, extradition matters are governed by conditions set by the European Union. Nations such as France, Spain, and Switzerland have extradition treaties with various countries. However, there are certain situations where an individual may not be extradited despite the existence of a treaty. These include cases involving their citizens or for humanitarian reasons. The United Kingdom deserves a special mention. Despite having a large number of extradition agreements with different countries, in practice, the UK rarely extradites individuals. This is primarily due to the lengthy legal processes involved in extradition cases. For instance, the Czech Republic seldom extradites individuals due to concerns over human rights violations during the process.

North and South America

The United States of America and Canada have strong diplomatic relations in the area of extradition. However, there are no extradition treaties between the USA and countries like Cuba and Venezuela, highlighting the political aspects involved. A country such as Ecuador, despite having an agreement with the USA, periodically refuses to extradite individuals, demonstrating the complex interactions between nations.

Africa

Some countries on the African continent fundamentally lack a clear and structured legal system. In Somalia, there is no judicial infrastructure to ensure the enforcement of extradition agreements. A similar situation can be observed in Mali and South Sudan, where there is an absence of a legal system, let alone treaties concerning the extradition of individuals.

Asia

Due to disagreements in the area of human rights, China does not have extradition treaties with the USA and the UK. As for Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar, the situation is more complex. For example, the UAE has extradition treaties with some countries. However, Iran does not have such treaties with the USA and the UK due to political tensions between these nations. Qatar has entered into extradition treaties, but the decision to extradite individuals is influenced by the diplomatic climate.

Countries With No Extradition Treaty With US

The United States has extradition agreements with over 100 countries worldwide. Nevertheless, there are also countries that lack such arrangements with the US, posing challenges in extraditing criminals or suspects who seek refuge in these nations. The roster of countries without extradition treaties with the US includes Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Siachen Glacier, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Vietnam, Western Sahara, and Yemen. The factors behind the absence of extradition treaties vary and may include political tensions, human rights concerns, or disparities in legal systems.

No extradition countries to UK

Several countries, such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria, do not have an extradition agreement with the UK. Consequently, the UK does not have a legal structure in place to extradite individuals to these nations. Various factors could explain this, ranging from a lack of diplomatic relations between the UK and the country concerned to concerns about the strength of the country’s legal system to ensure just treatment of extradited individuals.

Additionally, the UK has often shown unwillingness to extradite individuals to countries with policies of capital punishment. As a result, persons pursued by the law enforcement in these extradition-lacking countries could theoretically look to the UK as a haven. Yet, this does not invariably guarantee immunity, as the UK reserves the right to make extradition decisions on an individual basis.

Crimes requiring extradition

When there is an extradition treaty between countries, it specifies the crimes for which individuals can be extradited. Despite this, when characterising such acts, it is noted that the transfer of individuals for criminal prosecution is only carried out for crimes that are punishable by imprisonment for a term of more than one year or a more severe penalty under the laws of both states. Additionally, extradition to enforce a sentence is only carried out in relation to acts that are criminal offences under the laws of both states, and if the individual whose extradition is requested has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months or to a more severe penalty. If the crime is punishable by the death penalty under the laws of the requesting state and not punishable by the requested state, then the death penalty shall not be imposed or executed within the territory of the requesting state.

Crimes for which an extradition request should be made include:

  • crimes against state security
  • corruption crimes
  • financial crimes
  • drug-related activities
  • crimes related to human trafficking.

However, in practice, a country that has received an extradition request may reject it, despite any agreements that have been made.

Which criminals are not extradited by countries that have extradition agreements?

Countries with extradition procedures typically do not extradite criminals under certain conditions, which include the following:

The offence for which extradition is sought is considered to be political or related to politics in the requesting country.

  1. The request for extradition was made with the aim of prosecuting or punishing the individual on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs, or the situation of such an individual may be worsened for these reasons.
  2. The criminal is a citizen of the country in which the request is being made;
  3. The crime is considered to have been committed fully or partially within the territory of the requesting country or in a location regarded as its territory.
  4. The crime is not considered a criminal offence in the requesting country or does not carry a penalty of imprisonment;
  5. The statute of limitations for prosecuting or enforcing a sentence for the crime for which extradition is requested has expired in accordance with the legislation of the requesting country.
  6. The requesting country did not provide the necessary data, without which it is impossible to make a decision on extradition.
  7. The extradition contradicts the requesting country’s commitments under international treaties.
  8. The issuance contradicts the interests of the requesting country’s national security.
  9. The request for extradition was received from a country where the individual has been recognised as a refugee, or the individual has applied for refugee status.
  10. The judicial authorities of the requesting country have already made a final decision regarding the individual in question due to the committed offence for which extradition is sought. In this instance, the principle of double jeopardy applies, which prohibits prosecuting an individual twice for the same offence.

There is a threat of the death penalty, torture, or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The specified conditions may vary between countries, however, some are established by international norms and treaties, which obligate participants to adhere to certain rules when considering extradition requests. The final decision on extradition is considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account its specifics and the documents provided by the requesting country.

Extradition procedure

The extradition process begins with one country sending a formal request to another. Typically, the request must be drafted either in the language of the requested country or in one of the languages of international communication. These requests are transmitted either through the foreign ministries or directly via law enforcement agencies. If the suspected criminal is detained in the requested country, a judicial process commences. The role of the court is to verify the legal justification of the request and ensure all relevant requirements are met. Should the court reject the request, the procedure is halted. However, if the court confirms that extradition is permissible, the decision is then made by administrative bodies.

In contemporary international law, there’s a trend towards simplifying the extradition process. This particularly involves easing the requirements for “dual criminality”, reducing the number of grounds for refusal of extradition, and diminishing the role of administrative bodies. This process stems from the reluctance of states to unconditionally recognise arrest warrants issued in other countries due to differences in judicial systems and, occasionally, a mutual distrust.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that the extradition process is of a legal nature. The court or other deciding body evaluates all aspects of this process, comparing the legal systems of the two states involved and taking into account whether there is any political persecution involved in the request. A decision on extradition or refusal to extradite is made only after a thorough analysis of all factors. Although there are countries that refuse to engage in this process, everything is, in fact, highly individual. Even a country that has never extradited individuals before might do so if it deems it necessary. Often, this is related to the principle of maintaining friendly diplomatic relations between the contracting states. However, it’s important to highlight that while the parties discuss possible extradition, the individual concerned is likely to be detained, thereby infringing upon their right to freedom.

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Interpol Lawyer Dmytro Konovalenko
Dmytro Konovalenko
Senior Partner
Lawyer specializing in extradition and Interpol cases, with membership in the International Bar Association. In five years of practice, Dmitry has defended clients against persecution by law enforcement agencies in the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. He has successfully applied measures to prevent a manhunt at early stages and specializes in defending in complex cases involving economic, political and military charges.

Non Extradition Countries FAQ

Which country has no extradition?
There isn't a single country with absolutely no extradition treaties with any other nation, but there are several countries that have limited or no extradition agreements with certain other nations. Extradition cooperation between countries depends on various factors, including their diplomatic relationships and the specific circumstances of each case.
What countries don't extradite to the UK?
Several countries, such as Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, and Somalia, do not have extradition treaties with the UK. Nevertheless, extradition requests can still be made on a case-by-case basis, with decisions to cooperate dependent on the specifics of the crime and the diplomatic relations between the countries involved.
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