Reforming International Extradition

Reforming International Extradition

Fairness, Individual Rights and Justice

By Sally Kennedy & Ian Warren

Anthem Studies in Law Reform

Extradition often priorities international comity and state rights over individual protections. This can create unfairness and concerns about extraditee welfare. Using case studies, this book explores these issues and argues that defendant-centered reforms are needed to adjust these unequal levels of authority.

Paperback, 150 Pages


September 2024

£20.99, $24.95

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About This Book

This book explores possible reforms to improve the operation of the international extradition process. The book commences by outlining why international extradition requires reform based on its current operation. Whilst extradition is important for enabling transnational criminal justice and policing cooperation, its implementation is fraught with political problems, time delays, and issues that result from outdated legal and jurisdictional geographies. This is because extradition is enforced at the domestic level, rather than through genuine transnational legal processes. Domestic legal and political issues can create conflict between the nations involved and compromise the human rights of individual extraditees.
This book discusses these issues alongside the significance of globalisation, the dominance of territorial sovereignty in determining criminal jurisdiction, and the delicate balance between state rights, international cooperation, and individual protections, which are associated with extradition processes. This range of issues demonstrates how the normative assumptions behind extradition ensure these processes are likely to prioritise the interests of comity between nation states, rather than the rights of individuals. The limited availability of judicial relief for extraditees reflects how state rights are prioritised, with the law implementing high thresholds needed to establish proof human rights violations will occur if a person is surrendered. Further technical issues, such as the rule of non-inquiry, restrictive evidence options, and judicial deference to the executive, also compromise fairness in extradition cases. This combination of issues are the driving force behind the book’s argument regarding the need for global reform of the extradition process.
The book uses several case studies to demonstrate these key problems. These include the high-profile cases involving Julian Assange and Kim Dotcom, as well as lesser-known cases involving Hassan Diab, Daniel Snedden, Dorin Savu, and Elias Perez. These examples span multiple jurisdictions and highlight the common problem that judicial decision-making prioritises international comity by favouring surrender of the extraditee over individual elements, such as mental health and a high risk of suicide if surrender is ordered. These examples also illustrate how questions of governmental overreach, the role of transnational digital communication systems in the commission of offshore offences, and the operation of complex rules of evidence, can lead to prejudicial trials, as well as broader problems with the extradition process that undermine procedural fairness, refugee rights, and other potential violations of international human rights reqirements. This combination of factors provides an important opportunity to reform extradition law and procedure.
The book argues that developing a defendant-centred approach is the overarching lens for examining extradition reform to prioritise fairness as a core value for promoting global justice. This includes introducing a more harmonised approach for transnational justice administration that contains clear protections for individuals by limiting established extradition rules. The book argues, for example, against the application of the rule of non-inquiry to enable greater post-extradition monitoring of people who are surrendered, while widening the capacity for extraditees to submit evidence to support a claim against surrender. Reform can also involve the development of new and more viable alternatives to the physical transfer of the extraditee, such as transferring evidence to shift a subsequent criminal trial to the location where most of the alleged offending activity occurred, and sentencing in the extraditee’s home jurisdiction. These reform proposals intentionally challenge the established assumptions of extradition and adjust the unequal levels of authority that favour the power of the state over the rights of the individual.


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Author Information

Dr Sally Kennedy specialises in transnational justice administration, including extradition, territorial sovereignty, legal geographies, and individual rights.
Dr Ian Warren is Senior Lecturer in Criminology, specialising in transnational criminal law and procedure, as well as several other areas involving crime and law.


Anthem Studies in Law Reform

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter One: Extradition and individual rights; Chapter Two: Extradition in practice: The welfare of extraditees; Chapter Three: Extradition in practice: The conduct of nations; Chapter Four: Key reforms; Chapter Five: Conclusion; References; Index


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