Interpreting Extradition Treaties

46 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2021

Date Written: April 1, 2018


A particular trait of extradition treaties is that they are self-executing. Unlike regular treaties, extradition treaties acquire the same standing of congressional laws after senate ratification, without requiring additional legislation. Through them, courts must afford those subject to an extradition request a variety of human rights and due process protections. United States courts, however, have espoused a “default rule” that considers extradition treaties to be intended only to facilitate extraditions. According to the rule, when treaty language is ambiguous, the same should be construed to facilitate the extradition request.

This article discusses the particularities of extradition treaties with an emphasis in their human rights and due process provisions. Additionally, it argues that the default rule should be discarded for three main reasons: first, because it is falsely premised on the idea that those involved in extradition proceedings lack due process and human rights; second, because it incorrectly assumes that the only purpose of extradition treaties is to facilitate extraditions; and third, because extradition treaties, as well as criminal laws, should not be read expansively to deny individual rights.

Keywords: international extradition, treaty interpretation, statutory interpretation

Suggested Citation

Rivera, Artemio, Interpreting Extradition Treaties (April 1, 2018). University of Daytona Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 201, 2018, Available at SSRN:

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