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Transborder Criminal Enforcement

This guide helps people who are researching transborder criminal law enforcement issues.

Transborder Criminal Enforcement Mechanisms

Due to the limits of extraterritorial enforcement jurisdiction, countries have developed methods of cooperation.  The primary mechanisms are: Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance.

Extradition is the mechanism where one country will request and be able to obtain the custody of a fugitive that is currently located in another country.

Mutual Legal Assistance is a mechanism for requesting and obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.  This mechanism is most often outlined through a Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty (MLAT).

Types of Agreements for Transborder Criminal Enforcement

Bilateral Agreement - means an agreement between two countries.

Multilateral Agreement - means an agreement between three or more countries.

Extradition Treaty - is a formal agreement between two or more sovereign States that details when and how a formal request for extradition will be honored.  There can be bilateral and multilateral extradition treaties.

Example of multilateral Extradition Treaty - The European Convention on ExtraditionThe London Scheme for Extradition with the Commonwealth, the UN Model Law on Extradition

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) - is the formal cooperation between two or more sovereign countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws.  There can be bilateral and multilateral MLATs.

Example of bilateral MLAT - United States and Canada; United States and Italy; United States and Thailand

Example of multilateral MLAT - European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, ASEAN Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters