How extradition treaties work
Extradition treaties are the regulating factors overseeing extraditions between two countries. These legal documents enumerate the specific crimes that qualify for extradition from a particular country. A case in point is the U.S.’ inability to extradite draft evaders from Canada during the Vietnam era, owing to the U.S./Canada extradition treaty not classifying draft evasion as an extradition-worthy offense. That said, crimes such as burglary and arson were recognized as eligible offenses, thereby granting U.S. law enforcement the possibility to have suspects apprehended by Canadian officials. The treaty also delineates the methodology for requesting and executing an extradition between the two countries.
Every list of countries without extradition is different
Extradition treaties are specific to any two countries. For instance, the United States having an extradition treaty with Canada would not be applicable if a fugitive fled to Mexico, hence necessitating a separate treaty with Mexico. Counting all such agreements, the United States has established extradition treaties with 107 countries across the globe.
However, considering each country devises its own set of extradition treaties, the roster of extradition treaties for the United States may not be identical to those of other nations, like France, China, Russia, and so on. Similarly, the list of countries where extradition is not possible would also vary contingent on the primary country in focus.
Countries without extradition
The global landscape of international relations and law enforcement often leads to countries having no extradition treaties with one another. These nations can serve as safe havens for individuals wanted by law enforcement agencies. For instance, the United States and China do not have an extradition treaty, implying that a person sought by U.S. authorities in China cannot be apprehended and returned to face trial or punishment in the U.S. Even in countries with extradition treaties, geopolitical tensions or legal concerns can lead to disputes over extradition. Some countries, such as Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Iceland, Switzerland, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, are known to frequently refuse extradition requests despite having treaties in place. On the other hand, Spain and Yemen have been known to return fugitives even without an official extradition treaty.
In general, extradition is more likely when both countries involved have a treaty in place. Even without a formal treaty, diplomatic relations between the two countries can make extradition more possible, but with reduced likelihood. Extradition is least likely when neither country has a treaty or diplomatic relations with each other. However, it is important to note that extradition treaties are not legally binding, so any country may choose to grant or deny an extradition request regardless of the existence or lack of a treaty or diplomatic relationship.
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.
One of the most well-known stories surrounding the issue of extradition is the story of U.S. , whistleblower Edward Snowden. A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, Snowden traveled initially to Hong Kong before leaking highly classified materials from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013. As he sought to travel from Hong Kong to Russia towards Latin America, he was detained at Moscow’s airport for over a month, while authorities from various countries discussed potential safe routes or his possible extradition.
Though Russia had suggested a treaty with the United States for the reciprocal extradition of criminals, the U.S. did not accept this arrangement. Additionally, due to the lack of previous instances of the U.S. extraditing any Russian fugitives who sought refuge in the United States, there was no precedential pathway to follow. On top of this, Snowden hadn’t violated any Russian laws. Consequently, he was given asylum in Russia, where he found employment, established a non-profit organization in San Francisco, authored a successful book, and was later joined by his girlfriend, who later became his spouse. As of 2021, he continues to reside in Russia.
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