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How does Ireland extradite wanted criminals?

You’ve just pulled off the heist of a lifetime, where can you go?

Image: Handcuffed via Shutterstock

IF YOU’VE JUST pulled off Ireland’s version of the Great Train Robbery, you might be tempted to follow Ronnie Biggs’ example and abscond to Brazil.

However, it may surprise many to find out that Irish authorities can still chase you to the sunny sands of Copacana Beach. Or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

A Department of Justice spokesperson says that anywhere in the world, the long arm of the law can, in theory, find you.

“In principle, Ireland can seek extradition of a person wanted to stand trial here from any state in the world.”

Whether another country wanted to hand you over, would be up to them, but there is nothing stopping Ireland from requesting you be put on a plane to stand trial here.

Brazil is notorious in world circles for being difficult to extradite a citizen from, but it is not impossible.

Ireland currently has bilateral extradition treaties with Australia and the USA.

One solicitor says that Ireland’s ability to extradite often comes down to political will.

“If the person isn’t wanted for a major crime, it’s unlikely that a lot of money is going to be spent chasing them. Even when they are wanted for something big, the red tape means that everyone involved would want to be really certain about their chances of getting a conviction.”

The other way

For Ireland to send a wanted person back to another country, it all comes down to where the country is.

Within the EU, member states have an agreement whereby any EU country may use the European Arrest Warrant to seek the return of a person who is wanted in that country and now living in another EU state.

Additionally, Irish citizens may be surrendered to other EU states.

For a foreign country to extradite a person, they must have a number of documents signed by an ambassador or a Chargé d’Affaires.

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Says the official guidelines:

“This note should state clearly that the request is made on behalf of the requesting country, and should set out the name of the person, the location in Ireland, the details of the offence, the warrant of arrest or details of the conviction and sentence.

“It should specify the time and place where the offence is alleged to have taken place.”

The Justice Minister has, however, told the Dáil that he won’t extradite anyone who may be put to death for their crime.

“Where an offence is punishable by death extradition shall not be granted unless the requesting country gives such assurance as I, as Minister for Justice and Equality, consider sufficient that the death penalty will not be carried out,” Alan Shatter said in February.

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