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619439.  Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:13 am Reply with quote

Depends if escaping slavery is illegal here as well.

619445.  Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:36 am Reply with quote

Which it isn't of course since slavery is illegal in the UK, so there can be no extradition. On the matter of slavery actually remaining legal in some countries - as distinct from de facto existing, which is the case in quite a few countries - a bit of cursory searching has found Myanmar and Equatorial Guinea as countries where this may possibly the case. Others?

Now, I've talked above about the issue of whether an American who is in some way involved in the performance of capital punishment should expect to be arrested and charged with murder if he finds himself in a jurisdiction where that is possible.

Since capital punishment is legal in the USA, there's no way that anyone will ever be extradited from that country on those grounds. But as I suggest above, it's just possible that an American who also possesses another nationality might run into problems at some point. (Although the Americans would get Very Cross Indeed if it ever actually happened, which is why no Western nation is ever likely to try it.)

There is another way though, and it involves the unlikely concept of universal jurisdiction. A few countries have passed laws which mean that a specified act is a crime punishable in that country even where the act does not take place in that country or involve a citizen of that country.

A few examples. Hijacking of an airplane is a crime in France, even if none of the airplane, the hijacker, or any of the hijackees are French, and the act does not take place in French airspace.

Germany has awarded itself a comparable power as regards genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes - and under these powers, it is understood that Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld will both be arrested if they ever seek to enter Germany.

Spain has awarded itself similar powers, and is understood to have a warrant in force for the arrest of Jiang Ze Min. What's more, it was under an international warrant issued by Spain under this law that General Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998.

I'm ambivalent as to whether or not laws such as these are a good thing. But if we are to have them, then there must be full reciprocity - and since there's not a snowball's chance that (for instance) the USA will ever recognise such laws, they are really pretty pointless. Do we really think that Mr Jiang will be arrested under the Spanish warrant if he happens to present himself in Britain or the USA?


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