Extradition Treaties

Extradition Treaties

Because international extradition is not compulsory in case of lack of a formal treaty (at least for the United States traditional point of view -see Extradition History), there are hundreds of bilateral extradition treaties. No country has a network of bilateral treaties that cover all jurisdictions of the world.

International law (but no some national laws, such the case of France) may does not recognize extradition as an obligation in the absence of a treaty, but a country always, as a matter of courtesy, is able to refuse asylum to a fugitive and honor a request for extradition.

Extraditions are regulated through bilateral extradition treaties. They specify the requirements under which the object of the treaty can take place. The provisions of each jurisdiction’s treaties may differ greatly from those of another, and it should be noted that some treaties are formulated so that a country is not obligated to extradite.

In general, the above conditions often require the following in a bilateral extradition treaty:

  • the crime involved for which extradition is requested is serious,
  • there is enough evidence against the potential criminal (the extradited person),
  • there is a due process of law in existence,
  • the criminal offense is regulated by law in both countries (principle of ‘double-criminality’), which apply to extradition treaties agreed to by the United States,
  • the conditions of the treaty are reciprocal between the two countries,
  • the criminal can expect or already had a fair trial in the requesting country, and
  • the punishment will be proportionate to the crime.

Because of the existence currently of a predominant extradition system of multiple bilateral extradition treaties there is no a guiding international law or treaty establishing the application of extraditions.

In fact, since human rights concerns “have begun to be recognized across nations (see Extradition and Human Rights), there has been a relative loss in nations’ sovereignty and a streamlining of extradition provisions. In specific cases, also, nations have agreed to multilateral extradition treaties on particular offenses.

Furthermore, when nations explicitly agree upon a shared system of criminal law provisions as members of a supranational political entity, the need for extradition is eliminated altogether. With the increasing development of multilateral treaties and the formation of supranational entities, the current system of extradition is changing and might lead to an increase in extradition agreements between supranational entities rather than between national states.” (1)

Extradition in the absence of a Treaty Obligation

“A distinguishing feature of the law relating to extradition in France as opposed to that in the United States is the ability of the French Government to extradite fugitives without the authority of a treaty. The reason for the distinction is the American constitutional prescription that the Executive Branch has no prerogative to dispose of the liberty of the individual. Unless the Executive has been given this authority by treaty after the advice and consent of the
Senate, there is no executive discretion to surrender a fugitive to a foreignstate. (see, for example, the Valentine v. United States case in 1936). France did not develop the same constitutional prohibition.

De Vattel believed in his book “Le Droit des Gens” (1916) that “each state has a duty, imposed by international law, to extradite all those who have been accused of committing serious crimes.

Jean Bodin and Hugo Grotius believed that there was a “natural duty” under international law, either to extradite or to prosecute fugitives, from one state’s justice, who are found within another state’s borders. The views of Bodin, Grotius and de Vattel have been followed by a diverse group of scholars. Pufendorf and others of the “positivist school” have disagreed, however, and argue that extradition is only an imperfect obligation requiring a special compact
or treaty to secure the full force and effect of international law.”(2)

“The Continental conceptualization of extradition, exemplified by that of France, evolved away from the “natural law” theory of Bodin and Grotius that each state has a duty to extradite or to prosecute. Nevertheless, French law explicitly allows extradition without any treaty obligation.”(3)

In the late nineteenth century, Professor Billot wrote that it is “an established principle that extradition may be authorized in the absence of a treaty.”

A 1827 French judicial decisions recognized this principle: “Tlhe right to deliver up a foreigner, accused of a crime or a misdemeanor in his country of origin, to the tribunals of that country,
does not take its point of origin in treaties concluded with foreign Powers; but in the rights which the King derives from his birth and by virtue of which he maintains relations of comity with neighboring States.” Later was developed in the the Extradition Law of 1927.


  1. Deflem, Mathieu, and Kyle Irwin. 2006. “Extradition, International.” Pp. 352-354 in Encyclopedia of American Civil Rights and Liberties, edited by Otis H. Stephens, Jr., John M. Scheb II, and Kara E. Stooksbury. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  2. Christopher L. Blakesley, The Practice of Extradition from Antiquity to Modern France and the United States: A Brief History, 4 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 39 (1981)
  3. Id.

See Also

Further Reading

  • M. Villefort, Des Traites D’extradition de la France avec les pays etrangers (1851)
  • Dugard, John, and Christine Van den Wyngaert. “Reconciling Extradition with Human Rights.” The American Journal of International Law 92(2):187-212, 1998.
  • Epps, Valerie. “The Development of the Conceptual Framework Supporting International Extradition.” Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review 25:369-387, 2003.
  • Gilbert, Geoff. Aspects of Extradition Law. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1991.
  • Pyle, Christopher H. Extradition, Politics, and Human Rights. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.
  • Rose, Thomas. “A Delicate Balance: Extradition, Sovereignty, and Individual Rights in the United States and Canada.” The Yale Journal of International Law 27:193-215, 2002.
  • THE SIX BOOKES OF A COMMONWEALE (Harvard Pol. Classics, K. D. McRae ed. 1962) 100-11;
  • H. WEATON, ELEMENTS OF International Law 188 (5th ed. C. Phillipson ed. 1916).

Extradition Treaty With Chile in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Extradition Treaty With Chile: On June 5, 2013, the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Chile signed an extradition treaty. The treaty is subject to ratification by each party and will enter into force upon the exchange of instruments of ratification. Upon its entry into force, it will replace an extradition treaty the two countries signed in 1900.

U.S.-chile Extradition Treaty in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to U.s.-chile Extradition Treaty: See Chapter 3.A.1. for discussion of the U.S.-Chile Extradition Treaty signed in 2013.

Criminal Case Implicating the U.S. Extradition Treaty With Thailand

In relation to the international law practice and Criminal Case Implicating the U.S. Extradition Treaty With Thailand in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Educational Issues, Cultural Issues

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  1. U.s.-chile Extradition Treaty in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law



  1. Extradition Treaty With Chile in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law