AN APPRAISAL OF THE CONCEPT AND PRACTICE OF EXTRADITION UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
There is a universal righteous indignation against crimes as constituting a clog in the wheels of peace, security and progress of society. Consequently, the fight against international crimes have over the years become a subject of concern amongst sovereign states.This is more particularly because these sovereigns dearly desire to develop a mechanism either in the form of bilateral or multilateral treaty that will effectively prosecute international criminals without offending the sovereignty of a sister state and without compromising the doctrine of inviolability under international law. This is the primary philosophy behind the birth of the concept and practice of extradition under international law.The word “extradition” is derived from the Latin words“ex” and “traditum” which means to “deliver from”. It basically, involves the process whereby, under a treaty or on reciprocity, one state surrenders to another state, at its request, a person accused or convicted of a criminal offence committed against the law of the requesting state for trial or sentence. The practice of extradition is in the interest of all nations; Lord Russell, in Re-Arton3 captures the philosophy behind the practice of extradition in the following terms:
The law of extradition is founded upon the broad principle, that it is in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go unpunished, and it is part of the comity of nations that one state should afford to another every assistance towards bringing persons guilty of such crimes to justice.
Fundamentally, the concept and practice of extradition under International Law was a mechanism developed by the conference of sovereign states, predicated on the notions and basic principles of neighborliness and reciprocity with the aim of combating international crimes and apprehension of fugitive offenders.The concept and practice of extradition dates back to the ancient middle age and far eastern civilization. It was perceived as a matter of courtesy and goodwill between sovereigns. The subject of extradition is much older than modern International law and pre-dates even the origin of modern concept of nation-state based on organized rules of international behavior. Without extradition, international criminal offenders would be able to escape justice by moving from one country to another as it not possible for foreign authorities to arrest a fugitive offender in another country without extradition. Extradition allows countries to make request for another country to arrest and transfer a fugitive offender in order to prosecute, convict, sentence or enforce an already imposed sentence on them.
The reality on ground is that if the ills associated with the practice of extradition internationally are not curbed in good time, diplomatic relations are most likely to become unhealthy amongst sovereign states; international criminals will surely make head-way in their nefarious activities; and the original philosophy behind the concept and practice of extradition which is to curb international crimes will be lost. This research appraises the concept, practice and procedure of extradition under International Law. It is, therefore,de a most effort to delve into the slippery legal terrain governing the trend and the various manifestations of the intricacies associated with extradition, especially in our contemporary era where there is high tendency among our world leaders and some prominent individuals to abuse public office or commit some nauseating crimes and attempt to seek for asylum elsewhere.