EU WILL NOT EXTRADITE SUSPECTS WHO FACE DEATH PENALTY IN US
October 23, 2009: The European Union finalized an extradition deal with the United States that excludes suspects who may face the death penalty across the Atlantic.
'Extradition to the US will henceforth only be possible under the condition that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if for procedural reasons such a condition cannot be complied with, that the death penalty will not be carried out,'Â EU ministers said in a statement.
The current prevailing practice is for the US to provide guarantees that it will not carry out an execution on a case-by-case basis only.
The agreement, initiated in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the US, was sealed in Luxembourg by the bloc's justice ministers. It is due to come into force on February 1.
The EU is strongly against the death penalty and regularly criticizes foreign countries, including the US, that execute their criminals.
The agreement also aims to improve the exchange of information between the EU and the US. For instance, it will make it easier for either side to request bank account details of a suspect in the other country.
Joint investigative teams as well as the use of video conferencing for taking witness or expert testimony in criminal proceedings will also be allowed.
The act was largely formal, since all of the EU's 27 member states have already implemented bilateral EU-US agreements. (Sources: DPA, 23/10/2009)