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NCJ Number: 76763 Find in a Library
Title: International Terrorism and the Political Offense Exception to Extradition
Journal: Columbia Journal of Transnational Law  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:381-412
Author(s): W M Hannay
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 32
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: United States cases which have dealt with the political offense exception to extradition are examined, and the effectiveness of the courts' rulings in meeting the threat of international terrorism is assessed.
Abstract: Extradition treaties universally contain a list of enumerated offenses for which extradition is authorized. Extradition treaties of the United States, like those of virtually all other nations, also incorporate an exception or exclusion from this list for 'political' offenses. The meaning, scope, and purpose of such provisions have never been defined in treaties or legislation, and their interpretation has routinely been left to the courts. In English-speaking countries, the case of In re Castioni (decided in 1890) has been regularly used as a guide in cases involving the extradition of those charged with violent crimes who raise the political offense exception as a defense. In Castioni, the Court determined that any act, however deplorable, cruel, and irrational, which is done for the purpose of furthering a political goal makes the defendant immune to extradition. In 1894, however, an English court tempered the Castioni decision by ruling that violent acts directed against private citizens rather than political entities cannot qualify as political offenses. In the McMullen case in 1978, a U.S. court relied on the Castioni test to deny extradition of an Irish Republican Army representative who had bombed a British army barracks. Subsequent rulings, however, (Gatti, Abu Eain, and Piperno) have tended to follow the 1894 ruling which requires that the political offense exception to extradition show a reasonable connection between the act committed and the accomplishment of a political goal. Violent acts against private citizens were excluded from the political offense category in these rulings. The sweeping definition of political offenses advocated in Castioni is obsolete under the epidemic of cruel terrorist behavior that is being inflicted on private citizens. Such behavior should be treated as criminality in any extradition proceedings. A total of 114 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Effectiveness; International extradition; International terrorism; Judicial decisions; Political crimes; Political offender nonextradition; United States of America
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