Extradition From Mexico Allowed with Assurances That Life Imprisonment Will Not Be Imposed

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Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Rodrigo Labardini
On October 2, 2001 Mexico?s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) ruled that in order for any extradition to proceed, the Requesting State must provide assurances that life imprisonment will not be imposed on the relator. The effects of the ruling are far-reaching, and since the U.S. is generally not able to provide formal assurances to any country that a prospective extradite will not face a life sentence, the ruling has the potential to frustrate all extradition cases in the bilateral relationship, including future, present, and maybe even past cases of differed extradition. However, whilst the decision does have this broad potential, it has not blocked all extraditions as erroneously depicted in some places. In five years, the number of people delivered by Mexico compared with the previous 15 years grew seven-fold, whereas the number of persons delivered by the U.S., starting from a higher base number, tripled. In 2001, Mexico delivered in extradition 19 fugitives to the U.S., and the U.S. reciprocated with 12. In the first semester of 2002 (until July 8), Mexico has extradited persons and the U.S.