Friday 23 March 2018

Q & A: How the extradition process works

Extradition requests are handled at first through diplomatic channels
Extradition requests are handled at first through diplomatic channels
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Q. Has Ireland sought David Drumm's extradition from the United States?

A. Yes

Q. Do we have an extradition agreement with the United States?

A. Yes, Extradition from Ireland to the US (and vice versa) is governed by the 1983 Washington Treaty agreed between the two countries.

It is also governed by a multilateral agreement between the European Union and the US signed in the wake of the September 11 attacks in America in 2001.

Q. Is David Drumm wanted for questioning by gardaí?

A. No. A person can't be extradited for the purpose of questioning.

They must - under the 1983 treaty - have been charged with or convicted of an extraditable offence.

Q. What is an extraditable offence?

A. An extraditable offence is one that carries a minimum prison term of one year.

Q. Do the alleged offences have to be identical in order for a person to be extradited from the US?

A. For extradition to be possible it is necessary to establish that the offence with which the wanted person is accused is also an offence under Irish law.

A lack of correspondence can lead to either the US or Irish authorities refusing to extradite to each other's country.

Q. How are extradition requests from Ireland to the US processed?

A. The processing of an extradition request involves a number of bodies, including:

  • The courts
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs
  • The Department of Justice
  • An Garda Síochána
  • The Office of the Attorney General

Extradition requests between the US and Ireland are handled in the first instance through diplomatic channels.

Q. How was David Drumm charged in his absence?

A. To seek Mr Drumm's extradition, gardaí sought a warrant for Mr Drumm's arrest grounded on the proposed charges to be laid against him. Following these formalities, the request was forwarded to the US authorities.

Q. Can Mr Drumm object to his extradition if it is granted?

A. Yes. If the US authorities grant Ireland's request, Mr Drumm can challenge his extradition at a court hearing and - like persons in Ireland fighting extradition to the US - lodge an appeal against a variety of conditions laid down in the 1983 treaty.

Q. How often do Ireland and America accede to each other's extradition requests?

A. It's hard to tell as we tend not to get written court rulings in respect of consent surrenders - where each country agrees.

It is estimated that around half of all applications by the US to the Irish authorities are acceded to - based on written court rulings.

However, this may be significantly under-represented because of consent surrenders.

Irish Independent

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