Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Avoid The UK/US Extradition Train Wreck!

Three Brit citizens are to be extradited to the US under a treaty the US hasn’t ratified. This is detestable to Brits, who set great store by fairness and distrust US justice. Much of the blame lies with Blair's government, but the US needs to quickly and smartly to keep its biggest ally.

The story (my ellipsis):
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg turned down a last-ditch plea by (three) bankers for an order blocking their removal to the US pending a hearing of their application to the court for permission to appeal.

(They) must now leave Britain for America by midnight on July 17 (where they face) jail for two years while the case is assembled because they are viewed by the US as “fugitives from justice” after their legal battle (against extradition).
The men are charged with wire fraud in the UK for Enron while employees of the UK’s biggest bank. They haven’t been charged in the UK, but are being extradited under this treaty:
The U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty (Treaty No. 108-23) was transmitted by the President to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in April 2004. Once ratified, the Treaty will replace the 1972 Extradition Treaty and the 1985 Supplementary Treaty. This new Treaty seeks to modernize and streamline the extradition relationship between the two States Parties.
The treaty was ratified by the Brits in 2003, but hasn’t been ratified by the US, I believe because the IRA’s supporters in Congress fear that it will be used by the Brits to extradite IRA murderers from the US.

I can’t judge the guilt or innocence of these men, and don’t subscribe to the UK MSM view that US justice is corrupt, arbitrary and brutal. US prosecutors do play hardball, and I have come across a Federal judge who was possibly corrupt. But the Brits are no better - prosecutors and pols victimize Brit soldiers, and unelected Brit judges are often despotic.

Still, the perception is there, and it could have been avoided by just charging and trying the men in the UK. That’s because:
Extraditable Offenses. Article 2(1) defines an offense as an extraditable offense if the conduct on which the offense is based is punishable under the laws in both States by deprivation of liberty for a period of one year or more or by a more severe penalty.
I assume the case wouldn’t have gotten this far unless Brit judges had ruled that the offense was punishable under the laws of the UK, so why not try the defendents in the UK? Federal prosecutors and witnesses would have been just as able to participate.

There are the usual two explanations for this disaster.

Incompetence by the Brit Home Office, which its new political boss described as ‘not fit for purpose' after a string of errors including failure (!) to deport foreign criminals.

Fraud by the lefty UK and EU ruling elites – Home Office, EU secretarat, Brit & EU criminal justice systems - to set the US up. The deportation, incarceration and trial give the UK MSM a three-year license to bash the US and the EU court ample opportunity to ride to the rescue.

I’d very, very strongly advise the US to release the men on bail back to the UK, to publicly request the Brits to try them, and to ratify the treaty immediately.