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Through bilateral and multilateral treaties, cooperating nations have been able to formulate acceptable solutions to countless problems arising out of today's broad approach at reigning in those charged with crimes. While all countries maintain a strong interest in safeguarding the rights of their citizenry and individuals who fall under the protection of their laws, nations now more than ever, are seeking to extend the reach of their judiciaries to gain access to or prosecute individuals who are beyond their borders. Countries are increasingly asserting jurisdiction based on the nationality of the offender, on the nationality of the victim, on the place where the offense is intended to have its primary effect, and on the protection of a particular governmental interest.

This trend, however, is not absent cause for concern. Because the approach nations take varies in the way in which they handle those charged with crimes, requests for extradition made by nations whose laws substantially differ from that of the host nation can present moral and ethical dilemmas for the nation responding to such a request. The laws of the nation requesting extradition may, for example, promote the death penalty as an acceptable method of punishment (e.g. United States), while the nation possessing the individual to be extradited finds capital punishment unacceptable (e.g. France).

In order to clarify a nation's position on extradition, agreements between nations are typically treaty-based. Treaties are governed by international law and by design contain language setting forth conditional terms for extradition and applicable procedures addressing how individuals are to be dealt with once extradition occurs. These provisions can usually belay many concerns a surrendering nation will have over the treatment or procedural safeguards afforded the extraditee. Yet, many situations remain which bypass treaty provisions.

Utilized by the United States since 1795, extradition treaties remain the most common tool among nations for the surrender of individuals accused of crime, and who are now beyond the jurisdiction of the requesting country.

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