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New Resource Covers the Laws of 157 Countries on the Extradition of Citizens

U.S. & Mexico, Treaty on Smuggling & Extradition, 12/23/25, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.27375.

The Law Library of Congress has recently published a chart containing information on the terms that apply to the extradition of citizens in 157 jurisdictions around the globe. Of the countries surveyed, 60 were found to have laws that prevent the extradition of their own citizens, while the laws of 31 other countries generally allow such requests.

In the remaining 66 countries it appears that the extradition of a citizen may be approved in certain circumstances. For example, many require that such an extradition be provided for in a bilateral treaty with the requesting country or in an international convention signed by the countries. Other requirements may apply in different countries, or they may have a provision that simply allows a government minister to refuse the extradition of a citizen.

Where an extradition request involves two European Union (EU) Member States, these countries usually apply the Council Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW Decision), subject to additional domestic rules. According to the EAW Decision,

where a person who is the subject of a European arrest warrant for the purposes of prosecution is a national or resident of the executing Member State, surrender may be subject to the condition that the person, after being heard, is returned to the executing Member State in order to serve there the custodial sentence or detention order passed against him in the issuing Member State. (EAW Decision, art. 5(3).)

A requirement to return an extradited person to his or her home country for the execution of any prison sentence applies in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain, as well as in Israel.

Other examples of conditions for the extradition of a citizen include a requirement that the person have resided for a period of time in the requesting country and that a minimum period of imprisonment could be imposed by a court in the requested country for a similar offense. These conditions apply in Denmark.

John Surratt (Photo shows accused Lincoln assassination conspirator John Surratt in the uniform of a Papal zouave. Surratt was in the Papal Guard in Italy before his extradition to the United States), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpbh.00483

John Surratt, accused Lincoln assassination conspirator (1867). (Surratt was in the Papal Guard in Italy before his extradition to the United States.) Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpbh.00483

In Turkey, there is a requirement that the extradition be based on the country’s obligations arising from its membership in the International Criminal Court. The law of Cabo Verde provides that the request must relate to the extraditable offenses of terrorism and international organized crime.

New Zealand can refuse the extradition of one of its citizens if it would not be in the interests of justice.

We decided not to specifically address laws that allow countries to refuse to extradite persons for political crimes or to countries that impose capital punishment. Such restrictions apply in many countries regardless of whether the requested person is a citizen or a foreigner.

For specific information on the extradition laws of the countries surveyed, we recommend reviewing the chart. In addition to a brief explanation of the relevant laws, the chart includes citations and links to many legal sources. We will also soon be adding a map to act as a visual aid for the chart.  We hope that you will find these resources, and the many other legal research reports published on the Law Library’s website, useful.

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