Catch21 - Our Charity ArmCatch21 is a charitable production company set up in 2005 which trains young people to make videos and engage with their communities.Catch Creative - Our Video Production ArmCatch Creative offers a complete video production service, from Conception to Distribution.Catch EngagementCatch Engagement is the new video interaction platform from Catch21 which allows you to run a campaign using both user generated films as well as professionally shot ones which are displayed via Video 'Walls'. Catch Engagement is all about using films to build an online community - welcome to the future of video.

We shoot cutting edge videos and provide a forum to give people a voice.
Engagement. Discussion. Empowerment.


All content featured on our charity site is produced by young volunteers with the support and mentoring of our professional production team.

International no image

Published on August 22nd, 2012 | by Harry Evans
Image © [caption id="attachment_10925" align="alignnone" width="561"] International law is still controversial © Svgalbertian[/caption] The Assange saga has thrown two international debates back into the limelight. Both the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the UK-US Extradition treaty are being re-examined, their flaws again scrutinised by the international community. These are not particularly issues that Assange's case epitomises well; his is a singular case. They are, however, issues of international law that are frequently criticised. Extradition is one of the thorniest topics of international relations, as it highlights differences between legal systems and laws and it is becoming more and more topical as the distance between countries is diminishing, and the digital sphere is making it easier to commit crimes in one country from another. The UK-US Extradition treaty, signed in 2003, has been criticised as 'uneven'. Critics of the treaty say that it is easier for the US to extradite those charged from the UK than vice versa. The treaty has been criticised by MPs who say that the rights of British citizens are in danger of being violated. The case of Richard O'Dwyer is an interesting example of how traditional extradition agreements have yet to adequately adapt to the digital age. Richard O'Dwyer allegedly broke copyright laws by hosting links to TV shows on tvshack.net. The treaty is attacked for making it possible for Richard O'Dwyer to be extradited on 'reasonable suspicion' of having committed an offence, a notably vague term, which is also in danger of being abused. The wording for extradition from the US to the UK seems, it is alleged, to require a much stronger burden of proof before extradition. There are other issues that sit in complexities of the case, where cross-border law does not make it clear whether offences committed should be tried in one country or another. Jurisdiction, where a crime should be tried, is getting harder to decide in cases of copyright where the internet plays a reifying role. The EAW represents a good contrast for the UK-US treaty because it represents a different way of setting up extradition that, equally, has its critics. The EAW (which has been issued on Assange) is a piece of European Union legislation that allows European countries to ‘fast track’ cases of extradition with other European countries. In this way it is multi-lateral, unlike the UK-US treaty, and provides different cause for criticism. The first issue is that the warrant is supposed to be based on shared legal premisses, supported by the European Court of Human Rights. In theory, this means there will be no controversy about differences in law across borders because they all share the same final court of appeal. In practice laws a very wide ranging, and so are the punishments: the Assange case is a good example of this, where he is being charged for a crime that is not a crime under British law. The second criticism is also unique to the multi-lateral case. The wording of the EAW is universal to all countries, but not all countries hold the same standard of legal system. Garry Mann was issued an EAW by Portugese authorities after having been tried and convicted within 48 hours, a trial that a UK court said to be ‘incompatible with a fair trial’ but were powerless to reverse the decision to extradite. Another side to this is that countries with a lower standard of justice are able to extradite UK citizens without significant proof, or the guarantee of a free and fair trial. This criticism is linked with a worry that the EAW is being used too liberally and on crimes too trivial to be even investigated in the UK. Examples of extradition for dessert theft, and going over an overdraft limit are cited as misuse of the EAW, which was designed for detaining terror suspects. What’s more, the cost of this extradition lands at UK police forces and courts, which are expected to pay for 700 extraditions (in 2009, as an example) a year. The fundamental differences between critcisms of the UK-US treaty and the EAW lie in the differences between a bi-lateral and a multi-lateral agreement. However, all the criticisms can be tied to a common issue of international relations. It is unacceptable in international forums to put a case on trial to determine its legitimacy before extradition. If cases such as this could be assessed, then extraditions could be done with proper recourse to British justice, as well as the requesting state. The reason it is unacceptable is that conclusions that are drawn about the legitimacy of the law of another country is the same as putting their legal system on trial. In other words, if the UK were to hold a trial determining the legitimacy of the US’s claim to extradite Richard O’Dwyer, it would inevitably becomes a drawn out case debating the legitimacy of the US legal system. This, among allies, or among Unions, is a very big diplomatic faux pas.

0

International Relations and the Extradition Debate: an analysis

International law is still controversial © Svgalbertian

The Assange saga has thrown two international debates back into the limelight. Both the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the UK-US Extradition treaty are being re-examined, their flaws again scrutinised by the international community. These are not particularly issues that Assange’s case epitomises well; his is a singular case. They are, however, issues of international law that are frequently criticised. Extradition is one of the thorniest topics of international relations, as it highlights differences between legal systems and laws and it is becoming more and more topical as the distance between countries is diminishing, and the digital sphere is making it easier to commit crimes in one country from another.

The UK-US Extradition treaty, signed in 2003, has been criticised as ‘uneven’. Critics of the treaty say that it is easier for the US to extradite those charged from the UK than vice versa. The treaty has been criticised by MPs who say that the rights of British citizens are in danger of being violated. The case of Richard O’Dwyer is an interesting example of how traditional extradition agreements have yet to adequately adapt to the digital age. Richard O’Dwyer allegedly broke copyright laws by hosting links to TV shows on tvshack.net. The treaty is attacked for making it possible for Richard O’Dwyer to be extradited on ‘reasonable suspicion’ of having committed an offence, a notably vague term, which is also in danger of being abused.

The wording for extradition from the US to the UK seems, it is alleged, to require a much stronger burden of proof before extradition. There are other issues that sit in complexities of the case, where cross-border law does not make it clear whether offences committed should be tried in one country or another. Jurisdiction, where a crime should be tried, is getting harder to decide in cases of copyright where the internet plays a reifying role.

The EAW represents a good contrast for the UK-US treaty because it represents a different way of setting up extradition that, equally, has its critics. The EAW (which has been issued on Assange) is a piece of European Union legislation that allows European countries to ‘fast track’ cases of extradition with other European countries. In this way it is multi-lateral, unlike the UK-US treaty, and provides different cause for criticism. The first issue is that the warrant is supposed to be based on shared legal premisses, supported by the European Court of Human Rights. In theory, this means there will be no controversy about differences in law across borders because they all share the same final court of appeal. In practice laws a very wide ranging, and so are the punishments: the Assange case is a good example of this, where he is being charged for a crime that is not a crime under British law.

The second criticism is also unique to the multi-lateral case. The wording of the EAW is universal to all countries, but not all countries hold the same standard of legal system. Garry Mann was issued an EAW by Portugese authorities after having been tried and convicted within 48 hours, a trial that a UK court said to be ‘incompatible with a fair trial’ but were powerless to reverse the decision to extradite. Another side to this is that countries with a lower standard of justice are able to extradite UK citizens without significant proof, or the guarantee of a free and fair trial.

This criticism is linked with a worry that the EAW is being used too liberally and on crimes too trivial to be even investigated in the UK. Examples of extradition for dessert theft, and going over an overdraft limit are cited as misuse of the EAW, which was designed for detaining terror suspects. What’s more, the cost of this extradition lands at UK police forces and courts, which are expected to pay for 700 extraditions (in 2009, as an example) a year.

The fundamental differences between critcisms of the UK-US treaty and the EAW lie in the differences between a bi-lateral and a multi-lateral agreement. However, all the criticisms can be tied to a common issue of international relations. It is unacceptable in international forums to put a case on trial to determine its legitimacy before extradition. If cases such as this could be assessed, then extraditions could be done with proper recourse to British justice, as well as the requesting state. The reason it is unacceptable is that conclusions that are drawn about the legitimacy of the law of another country is the same as putting their legal system on trial. In other words, if the UK were to hold a trial determining the legitimacy of the US’s claim to extradite Richard O’Dwyer, it would inevitably becomes a drawn out case debating the legitimacy of the US legal system. This, among allies, or among Unions, is a very big diplomatic faux pas.

Tags: , , , , ,


About the Author

Harry Evans

Harry is a recent Philosophy graduate from the University of York. He is taking a Master’s in European Studies next year at UCL and has a particular interest in Scandinavian politics and economy. His time is currently spent undertaking an internship, researching and writing a history of the University of York Philosophy department. At University, he was editor of the student Philosophy journal, and has been published by the Club of PEP journal. Harry is hoping to make a career in International Relations and Journalism, and writes for Catch21 in this capacity. For more information and updates follow @hevans567 or find him on LinkedIn. You can also read more from this author on their personal blog.



Back to Top ↑