Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Russia proposes bilateral extradition treaty with US

Russia proposes that the United States sign a bilateral extradition treaty or join existing international conventions, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said on Friday.

"The Justice Ministry proposes either signing bilateral treaties on the extradition of criminals and repatriation of convicts. The second variant for the U.S. is to join the existing convention mechanisms, we will try to persuade our U.S. partners to do this too,” Konovalov told journalists during his working visit to Washington.

"We raised these issues more than two years ago, during the first visit of a justice ministry’s delegation to the U.S. So far, frankly speaking, the U.S. side remains reluctant to accept our proposals,” the minister said. “But, on the whole, we hope to persuade them and we aim to do our best.”

Russia and the U.S. have no extradition deal and Russian citizens convicted by U.S. court serve their sentences in the United States.

Relations between the two countries have been strained by legal proceedings against Russian nationals in the U.S., including the trial of Viktor Bout, a Russian national arrested in Thailand in March 2008 in an operation led by U.S. agents and extradited in November 2010, and the case of Vladimir Zdorovenin, a Russian cybercrimes suspect extradited in mid-January from Switzerland to the U.S. without Russia receiving timely notification.

"Such practices are absolutely unacceptable to us. We, of course, think that it is understandable… But people should not be abducted on the territory of third states, they should not be extradited illegally. Legal instruments and mechanisms should be used, and we are going to further discuss the issue with the Americans,” Konovalov said.

His statement overlooked a growing body of opinion that regards extradition as a crime in its own right, albeit one committed by the state against its citizens.

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