Magazine article The Spectator

The Right to Extradite

Magazine article The Spectator

The Right to Extradite

Article excerpt

From Rt Hon. Lord Lloyd of Berwick Sir: Your leading article 'Suspend the treaty now' (8 July) only serves to increase the confusion which surrounds this subject. You complain that Congress has not found time to ratify the extradition treaty signed in 2003. Yet you call for its suspension. Since the treaty does not come into force until it is ratified by both sides (David Blunkett was quite right) there is nothing to suspend.

The NatWest Three were extradited not under the 2003 treaty but under its predecessor, signed and ratified in 1972, long before the urgent need to extradite terrorists. It is common ground that under the 1972 treaty the burden of proof on each side is roughly equivalent. The same is true of all previous treaties with the United States going back to the Extradition Act 1870. It is the 2003 treaty that has introduced the imbalance. But since the 2003 treaty is not in force, it has not affected the NatWest Three. It follows that if Baroness Scotland is successful in persuading Congress to ratify the 2003 treaty, it will not remove any imbalance; it will only serve to perpetuate it. …

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