INDIA UAE Extradition Treaty
When former Central Intelligence Agency employee and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the details of the secret surveillance program of the United States he had to flee the United States under charges of espionage. But can fleeing to another country prevent arrest by the home country? Not if the two countries, i.e. the home country of the offender and the country to which he is fleeing, have an agreement whereby they decide to handover the offender to the home country for prosecution. And when the accused in the Bangalore (India) serial blasts case was absconding, a team of the Research and Analysis Wing had to track him in Muscat and sneak him out of Oman, since India doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Oman whereby they should have returned him to India.
Edward Snowden is currently hiding out in Russia and the Russian government does not plan to extradite or hand over Snowden - even though the US Prosecutor General’s office asked them to do so - as the United States does not have extradition treaties with Russia. Moreover, as a Russian lawyer pointed out, Snowden hasn't committed any crime and faces no charges in Russia.
Such events necessitate the need for an agreement between countries to send back the offender to his or her home country.
What is an extradition agreement or treaty?
Under international law, as there is no obligation for one country to surrender a criminal to another, nations have entered into agreements to help bring to book the fugitives who flee abroad.
Essentially, extradition treaty allows either of the signatory countries to the treaty to handover to the other signatory country the accused who has committed an offence in that other country.
In this article we will discuss the main features of the India and UAE treaty on criminal matters.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Republic of India entered into an agreement in 1999 on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters subsequent to which an extradition treaty was entered into by the two countries in 2000. Under the treaty, both the countries are required to handover the accused to the other country, the person to be extradited where such person is accused of an offence in the country requesting extradition. Further such an offence must be punishable under the laws of both India and UAE with at least imprisonment for one year or the person has been sentenced by the court of the other country for at least six months.
The treaty is entered into by the two countries to strengthen bilateral co-operation and take concrete steps to combat terrorism and other crimes.
The extradition will be possible irrespective of whether the crime was committed before or after the entry into force of the treaty.
CONDITIONS FOR EXTRADITION:
- The person to be extradited must only be tried or punished in the requesting country for:
· - the offence for which his extradition is sought or for offences connected therewith, or
- offences committed after his extradition.
- The signatory country to which the person is extradited must not extradite him to a third state, without the consent of the other signatory country.
- If the person to be extradited is already under investigation or trial or is convicted in the requested state for an offence other than that for which his extradition is requested, then the requested state must decide on the request and communicate its decision to the requesting state. If the request for extradition is accepted, then the surrender of the person concerned must be postponed until his trial in the requested state is completed and the punishment passed is executed.
- If the person extradited had the freedom and means to leave the territory of the state to which he was extradited, and he did not leave within thirty days of his final release or left during that period, but returned on his own will, he may be tried for the other offences.
- The two signatory countries may refuse to extradite the accused if the offence for which he is required to be extradited is a political offence.
- When a number of requests from contracting countries for extradition are received for the same offence then the contracting party whose security or interest or interests of its nationals are affected by the offence is given priority for extradition. Second priority is given to that party in whose territory the offence was committed and lastly to the party of which the accused is a national.
OTHER FACTORS FOR SIGNING A TREATY:
When governments decide to sign a treaty, they should feel certain that those extradited, will receive a satisfactory level of care. This should amongst other things, include the right to a fair trial, reasonable sentencing and guarantees that human rights will be upheld.
Many western countries already have extradition treaties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Australia and India have recently signed a treaty. The UK has safeguards written into law to prevent extraditions where human rights may be breached whereas Australia is yet to pass the same safeguards to protect its citizens.
Extradition treaties make it clear to criminals that there is no haven in the UAE. The extradition treaty provides a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from the UAE.
Extradition for offences in connection with taxes, fiscal charges and customs duties will be in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty only if the said offence corresponds to an offence of a similar nature under the law of the requested State.
Further the actual carrying out of the offence is not the only precondition for extradition and even if a person attempts or plans to commit or is involved in such an offence he is eligible to be extradited.
Extradition is also available for an extraditable offence if it is committed in a third state by a national of the requesting state who is present in the requested state and if it would be an extraditable offence under the laws of the requested state.
TRANSFER OF SENTENCED PRISONERS AGREEMENT:
Transfer of sentenced prisoners’ agreement was signed between India and the UAE in New Delhi on November 23, 2011 to facilitate the social rehabilitation of persons convicted in their countries. It will provide convicted citizens of both countries who have been sentenced for their crimes "the opportunity to spend the duration of their sentences within their communities". Inmates serving sentences for murder, drug offences and financial crimes are not eligible.
The transfer pact applies to those who have already been convicted. Under-trials will not be eligible for this benefit. The crime should be punishable in both the countries. A prisoner who wishes to be transferred must have a minimum of six (6) months of jail term left and there should not be any pending case against him or her. Both the governments of the host and receiving countries have the right to accept or reject the requests of the prisoners.
It is important that both sides honour these agreements, as even when treaties were in place extradition did not always take place. Many nations refuse extradition if the accused is likely to face the death penalty, others will not extradite their own citizens. In a recent example an Indian who was facing legal action in the UAE for allegedly fleeing to India after issuing a dud cheque to his fellow countryman could not be extradited from India to the UAE. India and the UAE have signed an extradition treaty in 1999 but a country cannot extradite its own nationals under the extradition treaty. However, the accused can be tried in India based on the same case initiated in the UAE under the Agreement on Juridical and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters signed by the two nations in 1999.
Although such extradition agreements do not necessarily need to be in place for a wanted criminal to be handed over to a foreign government, they simplify the process and most importantly send the right message to such criminals who think they can escape the law.
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