Forthcoming in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann and Rüdiger Wolfrum eds.)
15 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2016 Last revised: 14 Mar 2020
Date Written: November 1, 2016
Extradition concerns the official surrender by a state ('the requested state') of an alleged offender or convicted criminal to another state ('the requesting state') for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing that individual in relation to crimes within the jurisdiction of the requesting state. States are under no obligation under general international law to extradite alleged offenders to another country. Obligations to extradite, subject to important exceptions, exist only pursuant to hundreds of extradition treaties currently in force. Whether a state can extradite an individual is ordinarily a matter for national constitutional law in the first instance.
This entry examines the constitutional protections for individuals in extradition requests. Some of the most important individual rights and safeguards applicable in extradition proceedings find expression in the constitutions of states, including those that may prevent an extradition from being carried out, or which require the authorities of the requested state to seek and obtain certain assurances from the requesting state before any extradition can take place. A survey of national constitutions reveals that the most prevalent constitutional protections relate to the decision-making process in the requested state; the risk of ill treatment or an unfair trial in the requesting state; conduct for which an alleged offender may not be extradited; and the protection of nationals from extradition in any or certain circumstances.
Keywords: extradition, comparative constitutional law, death penalty, double criminality, political offences, European Arrest Warrant
JEL Classification: K14, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation